so his moment has passed? sad indeed. but, it happens to the best of them.
I think you guys are all misreading the departed, no offense. It’s a deconstruction of all of the types of films he’s renowned for. You’ve got the unstable loner, the group of kids coming up in the ranks, betrayals, organized crime, and a particularly mocking satire of Italian gangsters. He just doesn’t do things the same old way and you guys are getting upset that he didn’t make Goodfellas for a third time.
The departed certainly isn’t a fantastic film, but its far from mediocre. And it was an improvement upon Gangs of New York.
ok. but go further. what’s the deconstruction?
just because he uses an unstable loner, a group of kids coming up in the ranks, betrayals, organized crime, satires of italian gangsters, doesnt mean that he’s deconstructing these tropes. what you’re describing is a pastiche. wheres the deconstruction?
no, i’m not upset that he didn’t make another “goodfellas”. i actually dont have any interest in seeing another gangster film from scorsese at all. i just want to see something emotional, fresh, and new.
Maybe its because The Departed was my first Scorsese film is the reason why I loved it so very much. I understand that the general consensus is that Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull are all superior films, but there’s so much to applaud in The Departed: you’ve got intense cinematography and fantastic editing which reflect the film’s kinetic tone. What largely does it for me in this film are the performances, many of which are the actors’ best to date. My particular shout outs are to DiCaprio and Wahlberg though. It is a shame that Wahlberg hasn’t turned in many good performances, but this is certainly his best thus far. Hell, he came from Boston and was once a drug dealer, so he knew his character inside out. He truly comes off as a hard ass. DiCaprio’s performance is certainly his best to date as well. He gives Billy this gravitas and humanity which carries through the whole up until the last time you see him. There’s an intensity and quiet tenderness as well in his performance, and the balance between both is just right. How he was nominated for Blood Diamond over that baffles me. In my honest opinion, his performance is much more compelling and engrossing than Ray Liotta’s in Goodfellas. The best part of the film is the middle montage where Billy finds himself going deeper and deeper undercover and not being able to take the emotional and psychological strains in his work. The editing, compositions, and performances during that 7 minute sequence never cease to astound me. The rest of the cast is top notch too. Who cares if Nicholson is over the top? He gives off the impression that he is surely not a man to be crossed. And then you’ve got the great performances from Martin Sheen, Matt Damon, ALEC BALDWIN, Ray Winstone, and Vera Farmiga as well.
Arnold, you’re one in a million.
Ten. Ten million.
One thing I do like in The Departed is how the credit sequence doesn’t begin until about 20 minutes into the movie. When they showed it on tv recently, the first commercial break came before the title of the film! That was a gas. I happen to think Mark Wahlberg is a very good actor. He’s the real deal. He can deliver a line. Watch his eyes sometime — he acts superbly with his eyes, never giving too much, just these little moves that have a seismic force.
I refused to watch the Departed because I saw the Infernal Affairs trilogy.
“just because he uses an unstable loner, a group of kids coming up in the ranks, betrayals, organized crime, satires of italian gangsters, doesn’t mean that he’s deconstructing these tropes. what you’re describing is a pastiche. wheres the deconstruction?”
The deconstruction comes from just how he uses them, especially in relation to his older work. It’s far from a pastiche. If you look at how he’s updated each of these tropes, it’s fascinating and amazingly cynical. The unstable loner is no longer being isolated and left to his own devices, waiting to explode, as in Taxi Driver, he’s been assimilated into the system and used to its purposes. We see him dependent on pills, seeing a psychiatrist, it’s an amazing emasculation of that so masculine myth. The betrayals no longer have the grandiose scale of Goodfellas, they get more minuscule as the film goes along until the final series of headshots. Organized crime is no longer the cool and respectable business it was at the beginning of Goodfellas and Casino, it has already deteriorated far past their endings. Now we have a hierarchy which leads to someone who has no feelings for any of his men, as he says “In days past, I would’ve just killed everyone who worked for me.” And boy does he make the Italian gangsters look ridiculous in this day and age, especially in the scene which is ripped straight out of Goodfellas. The two men shake down Singh for his money, telling him to “Make more money” and insulting him until they get taken apart.
i see what youre thinking now. i guess for me its not a profound deconstruction, or a profound film.
i dont usually hear people call the film great. they call it slightly underrated. well, i feel its slightly overrated in its underratedness!
Well, I wouldn’t call it ‘profound’ but i think Scorsese hasn’t done anything deserving of that title without Schrader behind him. I think it has more depth than people give it credit for. Also, I find it extremely entertaining. Either way, I’ve got no problem being in the minority.
That raises a fascinating question — is Scorsese all that great without Paul Schrader? Apart from Mean Streets, After Hours and King of Comedy, the answer may be no. Of course, Schrader’s best work, apart from Mishima, was done with Scorsese, so maybe they always needed each other.
I’d rank Hardcore up there as well, but I take your point and consider it valid. Scorsese has always been a master at entertaining, moving the plot forward and keeping the audience enraptured. However, Schrader has always brought the intellectual element to it, so most of his films are challenging in that realm. Put them together and you have some of the best North American films of the last fifty years, take them apart and both do some very interesting, compelling work which just doesn’t have the same lightning-in-a-bottle effect they had together.
Yeah. You are convincing me of that. I feel the same way about other director-scriptwriter teams, like Abel Ferrara and Nicholas St. John. Although I haven’t seen Ferrara’s last two films.
I had a really hard time watching The Departed. I had seen Infernal Affairs twice by then and expected a competent remake. So many things bothered me about it though. Some shots stolen almost exactly from the original. The Wahlberg character did not exist in the original and adds nothing but confusion to the plot. And the saddest thing is the ending, Americanization if I ever saw it. We wouldn’t know what to do if the villain got away with it, so we’ll add this character to kill him at the end of the movie.
I know I didn’t get to see it with fresh eyes, but it is sad that a groups of people took a movie I thought was nearly flawless, screwed up a ton of its and raked in money and awards in the process.
I think some of you are being too harsh on it. When I watched it, I just considered the film by itself because it’s a bit unfair to say a film is bad because of the movies the director has done before it or because it was a remake of a hong kong movie series. The film by itself is incredibly, incredibly good. The script is tight and full of great character development (which is rare in a lot of modern American movies), lots of unexpected twists and turns, plus generally great acting across the board. Just because they added in a character that the original did not have does not make it worse. Sometimes you have to let go of your preconceived notions and just watch. “The Departed” is a very, very great film. The fact that it is 2 1/2 hours and flies by in a breeze I think says something about the film’s quality.
I agree with you Ryan. Being elitist about films will only hinder your enjoyment of the art form in the long run. Not scorsese’s best, but still excellent, especially when compared to other trash hollywood is making. And say what you will about marty losing his touch, his newer movies are a lot better than spielberg’s new stuff. A lot better.
I think Scorsese and Schrader have each made great films apart from their collaborations. Even if you want to posit Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Last Temptation as Scorsese’s best films—you still have to account for Mean Streets, The King of Comedy, After Hours, Goodfellas, Age of Innocence, Bringing Out the Dead, etc. Schrader’s made not only Mishima, but Blue Collar, Light Sleeper, Affliction, and Auto Focus. You can argue the relative merits of the individual films, but these films don’t seem to me to be indicative of a huge decline in quality in comparison to the collaborations.
Bringing out the Dead is Schrader and Scorsese.
And if you read what we were talking about, it’s not that all of their other films are write offs (Justin in particular mentioned Mean Streets, The King of Comedy and After Hours, and I’d put forth Mishima, Affliction and Hardcore for Schrader, as well as Cat People, but most people aren’t fans), just that they don’t have the magical combination of Schrader’s intellectualism with Scorsese’s ability to entertain.
I think I’ve been the biggest defendant of The Departed in this thread, mostly because it’s a great movie. No it’s not as good as Schrader and Scorsese’s collaborations. It’s still a fun, pretty smart crime drama with (as I stated) a lot of great commentary on Scorsese’s body of work.
Yeah, I understand, but even Schrader’s contribution to Raging Bull, for example, was a really just a rewrite of Mardik Martin’s screenplay, so it’s hard for me to attribute a full share of the “magic” of that film to Schrader.
Joe Pesci’s character in Raging Bull was Schrader’s addition. That’s a hugely important facet of the end result.
It’s certainly an important structural element, Joshua, but I just don’t think it earns a full auteurist share. To me Mardik Martin’s contributions to Scorsese’s work from the film school days through Mean Streets and then Raging Bull as well makes Martin as significant a collaborator as do Schrader’s work on Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Last Temptation, and Bringing Out the Dead.
Well I’m not saying he’s the auteur, I’m just saying that he puts that magical Schrader spin on things, and if he was the last man on the script so to speak, then I suppose we won’t know exactly what he did separate from Martin. However, I assume if Mardik’s version was all that good or complete then Scorsese would’ve just filmed it rather than getting Schrader to fix it.
Unless you have access to Martin’s script, which I do not.
It’s a good cheeseburger.
If you’re expecting a cheeseburger, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re expecting steak, it can only disappoint.
I only know about Martin’s version from reading accounts from Scorsese, Schrader, DeNiro and others. Martin’s version of the screenplay apparently offered different versions of LaMotta (“Like Rashomon,” Scorsese has said). But, yes, it wouldn’t have been the same without Schrader’s structure and some other fundamental changes.
How can your favorite movie by scorsese be Taxi Driver yet you hate Bringing out the dead which is probably the closet thing to a sequel taxi driver ever is goning to get. Its got its surreal moments but its gritty scorsese, IN NEW YORK! The cinemotography in that film alone, merits just a watch. I don’t think Nic Cage is the problem, hes actually good in it, and to watch him now hes like Sam Jackson hes in everything. The problem with bringing out the dead is scorsese focuses too much on the relationship between cage and arquette those lovey scenes take you out of the intensity, it should of had more scenes of chaos in the the 90s new york and him dealing and responding to the madness and have the relationship be played down by like 10 notches
Paul Sharder made Hardcore which is good
He did Mishmia which is probably his best movie hes directed Hardcore is a close contender though
Affliction is pretty great although its a vein cutter.