“Departed” judgments

Is it me, or do these Departed judgments sound vaguely similar?:
(a) “Mixing it up with modern mobsters for the first time since Casino 11 years ago, Martin Scorsese cooks up a juicy and bloody steak of a movie in The Departed…[which] pulses with energy, tangy dialogue and crackling performances from a fine cast…after the elaborate exertions of the period pieces Gangs of New York and The Aviator, it’s good to see Scorsese back on home turf” — Variety critic Todd McCarthy;

(b) “Thank God we have Martin Scorsese back…after a couple of films where one of the best directors ever seemed more intent on pleasing Academy voters than millions of admirers, Scorsese returns to contemporary crime fiction with a hugely satisfying bang” — Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt;
(c) “What a relief! The fabled director of Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas is back on the contempo urban turf where he once belonged…here, at long last, is a return to an old-school, brass-knuckles crime flick with piss and vinegar and style to burn. It may not be profound or symphonic, but it’s cause for real cheering ….after two middling efforts (Gangs of New York and The Aviator) Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have finally generated real electricity.” — me.

20 thoughts on ““Departed” judgments

  1. Is your point…
    1)Great minds think alike
    2)Honeycutt and McCarthy are biting your prose
    3)Every reviewer is going to have the exact same opinion on “The Departed” — that it’s good that Scorsese has stopped attempting to reach and expand his comfort zone and that he never should have stopped doing gritty crime movies
    4)Critical language has devolved to a point of utter banality and needs a major kick start because everybody’s writing in the same boring style
    5)All of the above

  2. Not sure what the ultimate point is, but this pretty much reflects the opinions traveling through my circle for the last few months. There’s a great deal of comfort in knowing that Scorsese is making an urban crime film again and that his last two films felt very much like stabs at winning the gold bald guy.
    Beyond that it just builds my anticipation all the more for this movie. It can’t come out soon enough.

  3. I’m not sure what the point is either, other than that a concensus might well be forming.
    Me:
    “The script, tuned down to deafening perfection by screenwriter William Monahan, is as frenetic as director Martin Scorsese√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s visual vernacular. And the atmosphere, molded by Scorsese as if he were twenty years younger, is as saturating and penetrating as one could hope for out of a freewheeling, balls-to-the-wall entry in the cops and robbers genre…But the real story of √¢‚Ǩ≈ìThe Departed√¢‚Ǩ¬ù has to be Scorsese√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s reclamation of his former relentless ways. This is an effort that fills out a trilogy of sorts with √¢‚Ǩ≈ìMean Streets√¢‚Ǩ¬ù and √¢‚Ǩ≈ìGoodfellas,√¢‚Ǩ¬ù further securing the director√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s status as the greatest of urban film artists. What makes the accomplishment all the more appealing is the sense that Scorsese is a beast awakened, done with a slumber that appealed to some and still puzzled others.”
    http://www.incontention.com/2006/09/the_departed.html

  4. :There’s a great deal of comfort in knowing that Scorsese is making an urban crime film again and that his last two films felt very much like stabs at winning the gold bald guy.
    I wonder if Scorsese feels the same way? Here he is being acclaimed for the same schtick (‘It’s violent! It’s bloody! It’s operatic!’) he was churning out twenty or thirty years ago. You know what Scorsese is? He’s the George Romero of urban crime flicks. He can’t do anything else very well, but when he goes back to the genre he made his name in, he’s a star. Poor bastard.

  5. Isn’t it possible that people rejoicing about Scorsese’s “return to form” aren’t really Scorsese fans at all, but really just fans of crime films. Wells certainly never saw a crime film he didn’t at least try to love.

  6. I’d disagree with a lot of that because I think Scorsese is good at a number of things besides the urban crime film. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s always great to see someone return to a certain form. I think Spielberg is great at a number of things (endings not being one of them), but I was excited at the prospect of WOTW because it felt like a return to his earlier roots. (And I think that was mostly a correct assessment, the ending aside.)
    Truthfully, LAST TEMPTATION is probably my favorite of his films, or at least it’s the one that vibrates at the best frequency for me. So, it would be wrong to damn him for reaching outside of his obvious comfort zone. But it’s not damning to also look forward to him stepping back into a certain ring for at least one more bout.

  7. so does this mean that everyone thinks that Marty is a one trick pony and while they’re nice in reviews when he goes away from the gangster tales, they’d rather he skip the polite of Kundun and Age and Aviator and just have eyeballs getting popped out?
    Critics don’t want Marty to get out of his Little Italy box.
    He’s the greatest living American director who needs to remember that he’s got to have gangster stuff in his films for us to care.

  8. It all sounds the same because the critics given in this example are too short-sighted and dim-witted to realize Scorsese has been telling vastly different stories for his entire career — musicals, comedies, literary adaptations, pulp thrillers, religious dramas, documentaries, etc. Everyone insists on the reductionist thinking that pegs Scorsese as a teller of violent mob stories who can never quite maintain the same level of achievement when trying to branch out, and is either overreaching or noodling when attempting anything other than a “thriller”.
    Let’s face it — if we didn’t have The Last Waltz, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The King Of Comedy, Last Temptation, Age of Innocence, Life Lessons, Bringing Out the Dead, and Gangs of New York to go along with Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Casino, and Taxi Driver, Scorsese wouldn’t be as venerated as he is.
    Not surprisingly, the same standard applies to all of the indisputable modern giants — Kubrick, Spielberg, Altman — who are also pigeonholed on a routine basis.
    At least Jeffrey just admitted his middlebrow tendencies in that NYFF posting. His proclivities explain why The Departed will never be taken as seriously as it should be — because it is “classic Scorsese” turf, it will never be viewed independently the canon of the aforementioned trio of Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, etc and any of its successes or failures will be wholly defaulted on a comparison of Scorsese’s past films.

  9. Wells to p. Vice: You wrote, “Everyone insists on the reductionist thinking that pegs Scorsese as a teller of violent mob stories who can never quite maintain the same level of achievement when trying to branch out, and is either overreaching or noodling when attempting anything other than a ‘thriller’.” I worship “The Last Temptation of Christ” and the still-unpleasant “The King of Comedy” gets better every time I re-view it, but the elation, the voltage, the cinematic juice and the soul-stirring pizazz is so much fuller and greater in “The Departed” and the other crime films that — really, truly, take the needle out of your arm — you can’t menton “The Last Waltz”, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, “The Age of Innocence”, “Life Lessons”, “Bringing Out the Dead”, “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York” in the same breath. You just can’t.

  10. KAM to Wells
    Did you know that love of anything requires imagination? Think about it what is inherently fascinating about cats? Or even blonds? Nothing really yet there are many people who love or are endless in love with cats- blondes- the color red-mob movies etc. See in order to be moved by something the thing it self is not really doing the work it’s your imagination- the imagination of the beholder. It is the beholder who projects into the object- into the gap between the-what the object is is and the-what the object could or should be. It is in this gap that we find love and fascination.
    All art is dependant on imagination or it would not exist nor could it be perceived. I mean what is an Edward Hoper painting if one cannot imagine finding himself alone and trapped in a café on a lonely street at night Or a Atta Kim photograph of a Manhattan street over eight hours if one cannot fill in those faint streaks of light with people-with people with souls and beating hearts. With out imagination they are nothing. See movies require this and much more. Movies require audiences to continually fill in the gap between what it is they are seeing and what it is they should be seeing and or could be seeing.
    I would say that your inability to find you√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re self equally in love or fascinated by Marty’s other works represents a lack of imagination on your part.
    The thing that I hate most in reading film reviews of late from a lot of major critics is this lack of imagination.

  11. Is your point…

    1)Great minds think alike

    2)Honeycutt and McCarthy are biting your prose

    3)Every reviewer is going to have the exact same opinion on “The Departed” — that it’s good that Scorsese has stopped attempting to reach and expand his comfort zone and that he never should have stopped doing gritty crime movies

    4)Critical language has devolved to a point of utter banality and needs a major kick start because everybody’s writing in the same boring style

    5)All of the above

  12. I loved Bringing Out the Dead, thought it was a bastard lovechild between Scorsese and Gilliam, even though Gilliam had nothing to do with it. It was nice seeing this bizarre New York movie. The only weak link was Patricia Arquette, when she showed up, the movie dragged. Otherwise, I though it was a blast.

  13. It sounds like The Departed is directed well enough to at least get Scorsese into the Oscar balloon. Am I wrong? I haven’t seen it yet but judging by the critical acclaim it’s receiving–so far and a supposed return to form he has to be an Oscar shoe-in. Come on, are they really going to give Eastwood another Oscar? Also with Nicholson, DiCaprio, Sheen and Baldwin in it Marty should finally be able to garner enough of the ‘left’ coast votes to warrant a win. In the end we all know the Oscars are about politics. So The Departed as a film might not get a nomination but I’m betting on it being Marty’s year.

  14. Wells to KAM2112: My imagination was turned on and fully engaged when I was watching “Kundun”. I was imagining how wonderful it would be to be somewhere else — anywhere else — than in the screening room I was sitting in. My mind was doing somersaults I was imagining so much stuff. I thought about ways that Scorsese could’ve made the film less deadly boring. I thought about my life, my children, my cats, the bills I needed to pay that week, about going to a new car wash that had recently opened on La Cienega. I thought back to the days when I was a stone mystic and deeply into the whole eastern satori thing, and why this had absolutely no bearing on my inability to give a shit about “Kundun.” Believe me, that movie set my mind ablaze.

  15. KAM to Wells
    I know I am in the minority here but Kundun is an amazing piece of art. It’s just that fucking good. The thing is Wells I don’t doubt that you do indeed have an imagination everyone does, but some are more limited than others and the above comment only proves my point. So you were bored and thought about your cat and bills and rent. Good for you
    Strange that your imagination was on full throttle and all you could think of was your banal reality.
    Read Eisenstein, Metz, Arnhiem, Kracauer, and Wollen in order to read the writings of critics who were actually contributing something to the language of film and not just thinking about their dogs and cats and bills while watching a master filmmaker at work.

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