Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Departed

In Martin Scorcese's latest hit movie with Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Whalberg, Matt Damon, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Jack Nicholson playing Irish-American gangster Paul Costello - Jack gets to wear a range of hats and dark glasses as he swans about the Boston underworld being filmed in a soft light.

Slipping into his faithful psycho-joker persona, pensioner Jack kills, giggles and cusses with a stella ensemble of crooks and cop scumbags, two good men and a colleen police psychologist who slips between the sheets with both bent dick Damon and honest plod Di Caprio in this flick with a plot full of cops, toppings, choppings and sock-cookers swapping insults and banter as they chase each others tails in Scorcese's take on the Irish-American gangster myth.

Jack's kindly lit scenes occur in dark, deserted and dodgy areas. In abandoned industrial estates smoky bars and dim-lit alleyways Jack oozes his OAP allure of sheer unspeakablness to all within his orbit of violence, drugs, murder, conspiritors and a rat in his crew - in the form of undercover old bill Di Caprio.

But Jack too has his own man undercover. A goodfella in the shape of Matt Damon - his mole in the elite detective unit of Boston PD, who he’s been grooming for the role since childhood. The perfect way to keep one step ahead of local law enforcement as he goes about his business of crime and cocaine fuelled debauchery with young women in their full flush of human beauty. Well this is la la land

The cat and mouse plot moves with a pouncing pace as the charachters romp through quickly changing events acting at the top of their game, keeping us on our toes and guessing right up to the final twist.

So deep is Leo's undercover no one but Martin Sheen and Mark Whalberg know who he is and Whalberg is on red hot form as Mr nasty cop to his nice plod partner and boss Martin Sheen, hamming it up as the only one of two honest police officers in the picture, Di Caprio's character being the other one.

Ray Winston turns in his best performance yet in a yank accent - as second in command at gangster HQ and Nicholson's chief chopper, shooter and executioner of those who piss off crime king Costello, who runs his empire with the cunning of Michael Collins and the morals of a cartoon villian.

Scorcese set the precedent for screen-violence with his true story of mob supergrass Henry Hill in Goodfellas. A classic flick some claim is his best - certainly one of his finest - which reigned undisputed until the deliciously horrid imagination of Tarantino topped the king of seventies indie-realism with Pulp Fiction and redrew the rubicon for comic book banality on film.

Even the able - but usually pedestrian - Baldwin earns his paycheque and carries full thespian weight, with a decent performance of a detective who embodies the moral essence of Scorce's corrupt vision, where everyone's a huslter for cash or glory, and usually both.

This wheeels within wheels outing accurately reflects a brutal force spinning at the heart of the Irish condition. A place where verbal sport is the national art and the serendipties of life so unbelievable they're an invisible DNA in the ambience of a didlee dee reality too complex for most outside the culture to grasp.

Well worth watching.

1 comment:

colleen said...

wanna know something funny? my name is Colleen Police. yup. i googled my name and found this. it made me laugh.