The Martin Scorsese Departed Rave (AKA The "Goddamn It MAN, Marty Has Done It Again!" Rave)

Last night I went with my friend Dave to see Martin Scorsese's new film "The Departed", which finally opened here on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night after an excruciatingly long 2-week wait. How was it? Well, absolutely brilliant is probably the most simple and direct way to sum it up. Ok, so I know I use that word "brilliant" a little too often and a little too casually, but in this case it's 100% appropriate. I'm truly a HUGE fan of film, but rarely do I leave a movie feeling as totally pumped as I did last night. I mean, I came out of the theater feeling a lot like Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet" - full of insane energy, though mine was the purely positive kind, of course. I was like "Holy shit MAN! Did you see that MAN? $#%& yes man! #$%& yes! Come on MAAAAN!! It just doesn't get much better than that!" I literally drove away shouting "Yeaaaaaah!! Goddamn was that ever amazing!" And I didn't even need to inhale anything to get to that point either. Well, besides an extra large bag of popcorn and a giant iced tea.

There are films you hear so much hype about, so many positive things about, that when you finally see them, no matter how good they may be, they end up being a bit of a let-down, as they're simply just not THAT good. Well, "The Departed" is most certainly NOT one of those films. If anything, it was somehow even better than all those raving 4-out-of-4-star reviews had led me to believe.

Scripted by William Monahan and based on the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs", it's simply a fantastic story. I'm not going to say anything about the plot because you simply do not need to know anything. You just need to see the movie. Well, at least if you're a true fan of film... and of Martin Scorsese. And what true fan of film is not a huge fan of Scorsese? Actually, come to think of it, "a fan of film who is not a Scorsese fan" would be the perfect definition of an oxymoron... or any other type of moron, for that matter.

Really now, we're talkin' about the director of "Mean Streets" (1973), "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974), "Taxi Driver" (1976), "New York, New York" (1977), "The Last Waltz" (1978), "Raging Bull" (1980), "The King of Comedy" (1983), "After Hours" (1985), "The Color of Money" (1986), "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), "Goodfellas" (1990), "Cape Fear" (1991), "The Age of Innocence" (1993), "Casino" (1995), "Kundun" (1997), "Bringing Out The Dead" (1999), "Gangs of New York" (2002), "The Aviator" (2004), and last year's "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan", and more. It's a body of work I'd have to say is rivaled by no one. The man's a bloody genius!! (Pun intended - but only about 50% of the time. Contrary to what some might think, not all of his films are violent. In fact, less than half are). Really, what can you say about such awesome talent? This is a man who has made a handful of the best films of all time and a dozen more that could only be described as excellent.

The film's not a black comedy like "Goodfellas", but there were still quite a few good laughs mixed in with the intense drama. And when I say intense... I'm talking about two and a half hours of intensity. I'm talking about two and a half hours that just flew by.

And the acting? Well, we're definitely talking career performances by a number of people here:

Alec Baldwin - terrific!

Martin Sheen - excellent!

Vera Farmiga - fantastic!

Ray Winstone - fantastic, as always!

Mark Wahlberg - absolutely amazing! Back to his "Boogie Nights"/"Three Kings" best.

Jack Nicholson - best performance in years. Easily one of his best ever. And he's not doing the whole "Jack Nicholson" thing either. There are no cocked eyebrows. This isn't just some rehash of one of his characters from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", "The Shining" or anything else. No, this is simply Jack, at age 69, hitting all new buttons.

Matt Damon - his best performance ever! Period!

Leonardo DiCaprio - Also his best performance ever! And I think he's been amazing ever since he appeared in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" way back when he was just a teenager. This is one of the great actors of the past 20 years, along with Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and Edward Norton.

But, hey, that's what a great director will do, bring out the best in all of his or her actors. And, MAAAAN, does he ever do that with this film!! Just like he did with Robert De Niro in 8 (yes, eight!) films over the years, Marty has clearly been doing again with DiCaprio over their three films together so far this decade. Most of De Niro's greatest performances have been in Scorsese films and, likewise, DiCaprio is definitely hitting career peaks working with Marty. But none of his work tops what he's done here in "The Departed".

One thing I must note is the preposterously perfect use of music throughout the film. This is unquestionably an integral part of what makes Scorsese films so great. He truly knows how to use music to take his films to an even higher level. The greatest example of that was obviously in "Goodfellas", but it's pretty damn obvious in this film as well.

There's really no doubt in my mind, this movie is clearly Marty's best film since "Goodfellas". And it definitely ranks up there in that same lofty category of incredible films as "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull". Yes, we're talkin' about the end of the Holy Trinity and the emergence of a new Holy Quartet.

So, in a few months when Marty finally wins his Best Director Oscar for this film, after criminally being shut out for his entire career up till now, it won't be a lifetime achievement type of win (like Paul Newman's Oscar for "The Color Of Money"); no, it'll be a win for directing a perfect film, yes, brilliantly.

But perhaps I should stop, this whole rave is simply a waste of your time. Ever second you spend reading this you could be spending on your way to the theater to see the film yourself. Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your right to see this movie today. Go! Go! Go! Head on out to the cinema right now. If you're in any way a fan of great acting, great writing, great directing and great filmmaking you really have no way around it. You have got to see this film!! Yeah, you could just sit at home watching yet another episode of some mindless sitcom or reality show tonight. I'm not saying that's not something you COULD do. And you could wait till the film comes out on DVD and see it on the small screen. Oh, yes, you COULD do that too. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying you couldn't do any of these things, I'm just saying that if you DID do anything other than head straight out to your local cinema to watch this film, then you'd simply be outta your &%$*ing mind! That's all. Rarely are things so clear. And rarely does everything come together so perfectly in one film. Now go and see it!!

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

The one-day-later P.S. Mini-Rant 'n' Rave:

The Mixed-Up Confusion Confessional Mini-Rant 'n' Rave

Ok, so, for all of you who were paying close attention, I blew it, didn't I? In my rave last night about Martin Scorsese and his new film "The Departed", I was slightly mixed up and confused about one little thing. Yes, I admit it, I was getting my Dennis Hopper characters all mixed up. I wanted to invoke the manic, insane energy that Hopper's character Frank epitomizes in "Blue Velvet", but I ended up doing it by using the whole "Man this, man that. Come on Maaaan!!!" voice of Hopper's photojournalist character in "Apocalypse Now". What does it matter, you ask? Well, I just didn't want anyone to think I got my David Lynch masterpieces mixed up with my Francis Ford Coppola masterpieces. That just wouldn't do.

Anyhow, hope you've all already been to your local theater to see "The Departed". If not, enjoy it - and your giant popcorn - tonight. You're in for a real treat maaaan!

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Monday, October 23rd, 2006