Friday, July 17, 2015

"The Departed" (2006)

Thanks to the fact that I am already paying for access to the library of film over at Netfilx, I finally got around to one of the many Oscar favorites I had been missing. This Best Picture winner is a standout in many ways: it has way more foul language, it is a remake of another film, and it is the middle film of the five (so far) that Scorsese and DiCaprio have made together. The first two of those facts mean that it is simply more in keeping with current Hollywood productions, the last fact means that I probably shouldn’t like it all that much.

The story revolves around two duplicitous men. One is a mobster who has been raised and groomed to become an insider on the Massachusetts police force. The other is a cop who has been placed undercover in the ranks of the mob. More than just a plot-driven tale of these men and their activities, it is a character study of deception, guilt, and motivation.

The acting here is superb. Not only are the leads great, everyone is at their best: Nicholson, Sheen, Wahlberg, and Vera Farmiga is a stand-out. But DiCaprio is really the draw here. He plays the conflicted, tortured role of Billy, the undercover cop, to perfection. One has to wonder just how such men justify their parts in the justice system. In an effort to bring criminal systems down, they are placed deep within the system. They are criminals for the sake of information. How much evil can one justify in the battle against evil?

This is a hard film to consume. One understands that a story about criminals will have characters acting, speaking, and doing things that are terrible—this story relishes in all that filth. And something is wrong with the editing. The way the story is cut together I began to think the Netfix was messing up or cutting stuff out.

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