The Corner

The Departed, Deflated (spoiler warning)

I’ve been meaning to say this since I rented the movie on PPV the other day. I was really underwhelmed. It’s a fine mob movie, for the most part, but it was far short of the masterpiece I was led to believe (and hardly deserving of the Oscar in my opinion, though I didn’t see a lot of the competition). Some of the editing in particular seemed almost amateurish to me. I know Scorsese is supposed to be a genius, but I just didn’t see it in the movie. The storyline between DiCaprio and the therapist was highly implausible and very undeveloped. The Wahlberg character, while fun, was sort of the broom behind the elephant. There were too many red herrings which seemed more like loose threads. DiCaprio gives that open-only-in-the-case-of-my-death envelope to the therapist and then….nada. Matt Damon was supposed to have sexual dysfunctions that presumably said something about his character but seemed to go away all by themselves. DiCaprio unbelievably gets all of Nicholson’s taped conversations after Nicholson dies, as we’re told in the last 20 minutes of the movie that Nicholson trusted DiCaprio more than anyone, which makes no sense. A second sleeper makes himself known in the last seconds of the film. Etc etc.

On the other hand, I will concede that DiCaprio — readers may remember I don’t like him — did a very good job. But then I never said he was a bad actor, just that I don’t find him compelling as a male star. I still feel that way, though less so after seeing the movie.

Update: From a reader:

The envelope was obviously sent to Mark Whalberg’s character.  That’s why he shows up at the end to nuke Matt Damon.

Me: Ehhh…ok, that’s plausible. But Walhberg already seemed to have plenty of motive to kill Damon and we were told that Walhberg had dropped off the face of the earth, so why should the therapist be able to find him?  Also, if that’s the case, that’s an awfully subtle piece of plot development for the audience to catch amidst all the ham-fisted, shove-it-down-your-throat, stuff. Case in point that silly rat walking in front of the statehouse at the end of the picture.  

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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