Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Departed

So, Marty finally scored the big one at the Academy Awards this year. I've always been a big fan of Scorsese, so I was pleased to see the recognition. But let's face it, the Academy frequently misses the mark. The only way they can compensate for their past errors is to correct them in the present. Apparently enough time had passed, and it was Marty's time this year.

So, I thought, what better way to ring in St. Patrick's Day than to screen this recently celebrated picture? Well, in hindsight, I might have better suggested Darby O'Gill and the Little People (remember that one?). Here's my beef (and I'm a vegetarian): this film should be the best film that money can buy. Look at the cast, the sets, the music, the director, the producers, the everything. How can it lose? Those very same elements can be a detriment. In the case of this film, however, the acting was superb (Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson were brilliant), the sets were realistic and deceptively natural, the soundtrack was huge (the opening with the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" however did give me pause - I thought, "this better be good"), and who can discount the direction? But the editing in the first 30 minutes about made me leave the room - textbook, boring, and deliberately "arty" at times. It set the film up as a formula, which is kinda true, but I'll give the writers credit. After all, there's nothing original about this film... it's a remake of Wai Keung Lau's blockbuster Hong Kong action film Mou gaan dou III: Jung gik mou gaan (Infernal Affairs 3: End Inferno).

And that's the kicker. I wished that I had been overwhelmed, but I wasn't. It wasn't overlong, so it held my attention for 2 1/2 hours, but I wouldn't see it again. It's no Goodfellas or, my favorite Scorsese, Mean Streets, but it's good a Hollywood movie, with a lot of great elements. It's like that almost perfect meal at a nice restaurant - they've got all the right ingredients on the plate, it just didn't come together to leave a lasting impression.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


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