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Old 10-14-2006, 10:42 PM   #1677
Tell me This is It
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Originally Posted by Spiwak View Post
Perhaps I will come to the same conclusion, but I severely doubt it. This movie was far too intelligent (writing, visuals, staging, audio, editing) to be simply a "glorified action movie." There were little things I haven't seen before on this scale, particularly in the editing and the sound (abruptly stopping the music with a scene change or the appearance of a cell phone, for instance). There were some interesting issues: communication without seeing or hearing, the idea of "family," the prevalence of headshots, the mirroring of the two protagonists/antagonists...whatever. I dunno, while it was enjoyable in a mainstream way, it was clearly more than a run-of-the-mill action movie to me.
It is certainly more than a run-of-the-mill action movie. This is not your cookie-cutter fill-in-the-blanks action hero sort of movie. It is Scorcese, which means that it is thoughtful and perhaps technically innovative. Also, Scorcese knows how to handle all of his star power, which is also impressive. However, the movie relies on its action to hold the attention of the viewer. After no longer being in the immediate grip of the movie, I personally feel like there is not much left to consider. You can read into the movie however you like. If you're looking, you'll find some way to look deeper. The drama of the story certainly had elements to keep me interested while in the theater, and for some maybe, those elements are further food for thought. It's a damn good script, for instance, there's no denying that.

But I sincerely doubt whether I would revisit this film for any other reason than for social entertainment. This is what a good action movie is for me: fun and done. The film felt empty in many ways. The film is violent, but its not much of a social commentary. The film is narratively-driven, but there is not much here emotionally. We identify with Leo or Damon as far as their Hollywood personas can take us, but not much further. As I say, the script is great, but the dialogue is pinned onto their personas. I watch this movie because I like Jack, I always Alec Baldwin, and Matt Damon is back sporting the Boston accent. This is all great, and I get exactly what I want, but I'm not surprised at the result, I don't become invested in the characters, and narrative-driven movies that don't get the viewer hooked on the characters are usually missing something. But maybe there was more there for you than there was for me, which I'm willing to accept.

But let me say this, people are not going to remember the Departed in the same breath as Raging Bull, Mean Streets, or even Goodfellas when they think of Scorcese years down the line. The difference is that Scorcese had his finger on something there - he had some magic back then - that is missing now from his recent films. I'm not sure what it is, but I can certainly feel it. There was some kind of emotional intensity running underneath those films that has since been washed out. The intensity had a space of its own, and made the films seem like they were important for some reason. I'm speaking very generally because I'm not quite sure what did it for me in those films that the Departed didn't do. Suffice it to say that I feel like all of the intensity in the Departed is directed toward the pull of the script, rather than toward something greater, something deeper in Scorcese's voice coming through. So, for me, its just a good action movie.

Last edited by Terabin; 10-14-2006 at 10:50 PM.
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