Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Departed: Scorsese finally does it

After watching Martin Scorsese's films of the early noughties like The Aviator, I did wonder that he may have lost his magical ability with directing. Although his films remained to look exquisitely sumptuous and always had glimpses of genius, they never quite captured the magic of his classics like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and his best film (in my opinion), Goodfellas.

Then a few months back I watched one of his most recent triumphs, Shutter Island. Although I was disturbed by some parts of the movie, I could not fault that it was another outstanding contribution to the remarkable Scorsese filmography. Shutter Island contained all the richness of a Scorsese picture, but with a new, more modern edge that made even the newest directors of the industry couldn't quite cut.

This week I watched The Departed for the first time, which was made before Shutter Island, and I realised three things.
1.) Scorsese deserved his Oscar, and thank god he finally won it.
2.) I can see why he chose to use DiCaprio again- they make a great team.
3.) This is the film where he found his flare and mastery of the camera and storytelling again.

The Departed is a fast-paced, edgy gangster picture, with many heart-racing and shocking moments. It felt different to a Scorsese picture, in the way the colours and the cinematography wasn't so rich and warm- for me this picture felt colder, but I think that is reflected in the outcome of the movie. DiCaprio, for me, gives his finest performance in film, just when I thought he would never top his role in Catch Me If You Can. Matt Damon, as always, produced a solid performance. My only two problems with this movie were Ray Winstone's accent which was about as consistent the weather, and Jack Nicholson.

Now I love Jack Nicholson, for me he can do no wrong, but in this film it did feel like he was playing a caricature of a crime lord. I never felt scared of him, which I usually do, I never felt the sternness in his voice like he had in A Few Good Men, or the mad and calculating tone of him as the Joker or in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Another great performance was from Mark Wahlberg, who was- quite frankly- exceptional.

Regardless, The Departed had me gripped throughout, and kept shocking me whenever I least expected it. As far as I am concerned, Scorsese should have won three of four Oscars by the time this film was released, but I can also see, why the Academy had to give it to him. Very few films I have seen, have had the sharpness and class that I saw in The Departed. This is a must-see, the only thing people may not like is the language- but what can you expect from Scorsese picture?

For me, The Departed proved once again, that Martin Scorsese, is the undisputed master of the gangster picture.

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