Brief Thoughts on: The Departed

Spoilers abound

1.
The Departed is a very good film, but for the first 70-90 minutes, it’s brilliant. It ticks a lot of Guy Film boxes—crime, swearing, someone getting thrown through glass—but does so intelligently and with Scorsese’s typical exuberance. But the plot gets muddled, there are unrealistic moments in the second half, and the ending is unfulfilling. Such is the power of Scorsese that the film is still so entertaining

2.
That ending and all those deaths. I liked Billy getting offed early, and I was surprised by it (even though I’ve seen the film before. Damn my memory). For him this is a tragedy, an undercover cop trying to escape his assumed life and regain his identity and not being allowed to. His payoff was never coming. But did we really need all those deaths? The only main character left standing is Madolyn. Is that a fitting way for this to end after 2.5 hours? Some would say yes, it’s a tale of people deep in crime after all. I didn’t dig it, the ending didn’t resonate with me.

2.
Madolyn is the only female character in the film. She meets two men. Both of whom she has sex with. I presume this film doesn’t rate highly on the Bechdel Test.

3.
Sullivan sends an important message to Costello by texting with his phone in his pocket. Make that film now, and he’d never be able to do that. Ever tried blind texting on a touch-screen?

That moment made me nostalgic for my Nokia 3330.

4.
One of my recent beefs with characterisation is unreasonably evil/annoying characters (which will come up in a post about Lost at some point). Dignam, Mark Wahlberg’s character, was insanely annoying. But that makes sense for his character, at least when he first meets Billy, because he’s feeling him out, trying to press Billy’s buttons. And credit to Marky Mark, he did a great job, I felt my shoulders tense up as Dignam ranted, the irritating bastard.

5.
I could watch Snatch and Lock, Stock back to back and wouldn’t get the cockney accent stuck in my head. But watch something set in Boston? My thoughts are in a Bostonian voice for days

6.
Good to see Jack Nicholson reprise his role as the Joker for this film

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