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Topic: Gimme Shelter Open Scorsese's "Departed" Return to archive
18th September 2006 10:46 PM
Taptrick Actually, I'm not sure if it opens but here is the story from roger Friedman at Fox News:

Jack Nicholson in a Martin Scorsese film? With Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg in the cast as well? Are you kidding?

No, I am not.

"The Departed," which I saw on Friday night, is a rocking comedy-of-a-gangster-shoot-out stuffed with great performances both big and small by all these guys, and Scorsese — who returns to his favorite genre — is the puppeteer pulling the strings.

Actually, he's not pulling all the strings. Nicholson is completely "out there" and over the edge in a performance that will either win him kudos or tomatoes (I vote for the former) as a psychopathic killer who has no personal boundaries and works, shall we say, outside the margins of even recognized behavior for organized crime.

In one scene, Nicholson pulls out a sex toy and surprises Damon in a movie theater. In another, he wears sunglasses all the way through despite, I'm told, Scorsese's wishes that he didn't.

But you can see that Nicholson took to his work with relish, and — as he did with The Joker in "Batman" — he makes sure no one forgets him.

Still, "The Departed" is Scorsese's film. From the first strains of The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," he's telling us we are back in the land of "Goodfellas" after his last two films, best picture nominees "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator."

And while "Gangs" had its share of crazy, unpredictable, graphic violence, really nothing prepares you for the bloodletting in "The Departed." It's at once maniacal and casual, and would make Tony Soprano and his gang run for the hills.

"The Departed" constitutes a couple of ideas mashed together. It's partly an American remake of the Hong Kong classic "Infernal Affairs." Then again, the story has been moved to Boston and turned into the saga of Whitey Bulger, an FBI informant whose gang runs wild while the feds clean up the mafia.

Nicholson is the Bulger character (he's named here for New York mobster Frank Costello). Damon is the bad cop who's in Costello's pocket; DiCaprio is the police mole in Costello's gang, sent in by Martin Sheen and an unusually good Wahlberg.

In many ways, the story set up in "The Departed" is reminiscent of Michael Mann's "Heat" as DiCaprio and Damon spend most of the movie as each other's doppelgangers. Their paths only meet toward the end, when the plot is clearly laid out and resolution for every one of these corrupted characters is close at hand.

There are some good little performances, too, from Alec Baldwin (in an especially funny improvised scene), Anthony Anderson and newcomer (after a decade of work) Vera Farmiga as the girl caught between Damon and DiCaprio.

There are a lot of great things about "The Departed," but I would say the greatest might be Thelma Schoonmaker's effortless editing. She finally won an Oscar last year for "The Aviator," but I think what she has done here, especially in the first act, is amazing.

She and Scorsese really are a team. Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus get the performances and the spectacular shots. Then Schoonmaker adds the timing and pace. In "The Departed," she's got scenes within scenes, and the action moving back and forth almost at the same time, and it all works. You might even call this film "The Deceptive" because the work is so good.

Scorsese remains our greatest director, surpassed by no one. He is also part of a dying breed of grand auteurs that includes Robert Altman, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Lumet, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. The rest of them now have one thing Scorsese doesn't: an Oscar.

This is a sore point for the Academy. If Scorsese isn't nominated for one this year, I think it's time he got a Lifetime Achievement Award. "The Departed" is so far above what we see in theaters these days. But standards are so low now, I'm just worried new audiences won't appreciate it.

19th September 2006 04:59 AM
Voodoo Scrounge He loves Gimme Shelter
19th September 2006 05:52 AM
star star scorcese is the man! and he sure knows a thing or two about how best to stick a stones song in a film....jumpin jack flash in mean streets as de niro waltzes into a bar, gimme shelter, monkey man in goodfellas during the helicopter chase and the whole of CYHMK in casino as we are introduced to joe pesci's gang.
its a shame that he isnt in it actually...
19th September 2006 11:18 AM
Saint Sway thats cool. But Marty has gone to the Gimme Shelter well one too many times in his flicks

theres 50 other insane Stones tracks that he could immortalize on film for those scenes
19th September 2006 11:27 PM
Bovine49 Martin Scorsese's still dead, right?
19th September 2006 11:56 PM
GimmeExile Scorsese's RAGING FRED

20th September 2006 02:53 PM
texile scorses has been using stones songs since mean streets...
i heard gimme shelter in the preview and it always sounds great but i hope they feature the song as an opening or closing.
i usually hate the way they incorporate songs in fikms these days - it's ususally out of context and a cheap way to provide drama to lame movies but hey,
it's the stones.
my favorite stones in film was ted demme using fool to cry in beatiful girls -
it was completely random and out of context - but i got exited he would use a song like that.
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