Friday, July 27, 2007

Cinema Talk - The Departed (2006)




Directed by Martin Scorsese
Writing credits (WGA) William Monahan (screenplay)
Remake of "Infernal Affairs"
Suit Fai Mak (2002 screenplay Wu jian dao)
(as Alan Mak) and Felix Chong
(2002 screenplay Wu jian dao)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio...William 'Billy' Costigan Jr.
Matt Damon...Sgt.Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson...Francis 'Frank' Costello
Mark Wahlberg...Sgt. Sean Dignam
Martin Sheen...Capt. Oliver Queenan
Ray Winstone...Mr. French
Vera Farmiga...Madolyn Madden

Plot Summary: The movie is violent crime drama about a local mafia crime boss, and an undercover agent trying to bring him down, and a dirty detective. It was the fun “double identity” theme where each character has to struggle with concealing his hidden identity and coming to terms with the stress and drama the situation creates. Although the material is all stuff we’ve seen before, the “hero” undercover agent who wants his identity back, the dirty detective and the over-the-top hedonistic crime boss ala soprano style.
Review:

Since I treat every Martin Scorsese film to be lesson in film making, I infact, wanted to sit with a writing pad, or a pause control, the 2nd time, I drove the DVD in. But, down the line, I lost in touch with my 2B pencil or the remote, because I kept thinking, may be just now, Scorsese stay on a little longer with this character and may be I can find mypencil back.

My first reaction to the film was hurried; a film which was originally may be four hours old and very clinically Thelma Schoonmaker created another chapter in Editing training, one another film edited with no loose ends, but if that is the case, how about the scene with Jack Nicholson and Leonardo. Jack smells his tonic, and says "I smell a rat!”, cut to Leonardo's MCU, in between we see Ray Winstone, smirking, Scary isn't it. Does Jack already know about him, what will he do now, cut him to pieces? You don't know? Did Damon manage to find out his identity by punching? in the Social Security ID? As these questions rage you indefinitely, Leonardo turns on the heat to Jack Nicholson. You start feeling, you have seen this before, may be in "Good Fellas" or "Casino", no, is it different these times or may be not?

Interestingly, When the camera stays on with them, Leonardo doesn't know, what happening behind him, you see that vulnerability behind him, in his face, in his expression, he weights on every word he is hanging on to. But, he gathers himself together, and stares at Jack and says "I told you before, and I tell you again, I am not the rat". You almost believe him.

Had i seen the script before and got stuck on this page, I may be not so impressed, but seeing the scene in the film, I know where the magic began, and how just a few faded lines can be turned into a masterpiece. How a remake remains no longer a remake, what follows are more intricate network of inciting sequences and more defined and rounded characters. When Leonardo and Vera Farmiga does it, as she says "I can’t stand your vulnerability anymore", you get to know the heartbeat of the film, the vulnerability of the storyline, its emotions, its characters. The cat and mouse chase genre transformed into a masterpiece, and just look at the supporting cast, Mark Wahlburg and Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin character just makes you feel sad and funny about the Investigative Team, how lame and unprepared they look before Costello's gang. so, what will take Costello' gang, you keep wondering?

I particularly love the way, when Leonardo asks him, "why do you do this? For money", Jack replies, "The last time, I stole money was from Johnny, when I was four, and far as Cunt goes....” You seem to question the motivation behind Costello's madness?

The fractured Identity crises seem to bind both Leonardo and Matt Demon in the film. They both have places of their own in the film, and whenever they meet, you feel uncomfortable, almost as if you don't want them to converse with each other, as if you want to be buried for ever.

There are so much more, we can discuss about this film like any other Scorsese film, may be next time, if I could find my pencil while watching the film.

Oh yes! I heard Martin finally got an Oscar for this film, I can hear everyone saying, "It was long deserved".


My Rating: 8/10

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