THE TOP TEN: #09: The Departed
More than any other film on my top ten list this year, The Departed is a movie- that is to say, it is a film that you can chew popcorn through, that you can laugh and tense and gasp at, that isn't really trying to subliminate messages or portray a meaningful story (there is nothing wrong with doing these things, of course, as the rest of the list demonstrates); it is instead there to entertain, to be enjoyed, and to be experienced. I've seen it three times now, twice in equally crowded cinemas and once on DVD, and, although its vitality still shows on the smaller screen, The Departed strikes me truly as a movie to be enjoyed with others, whether you know them or not; I loved observing the gasps at a certain cast member's ghostly fall from a high building, and the jumps at the excitable climax. Many have commented that Martin Scorsese finally got his Oscar when he stopped looking for it; and in a way that's true, because nothing in The Departed- apart from perhaps the starry cast- smacks of bait or conformity. The Departed shows Scorsese truly enjoying movie-making again- sure, it's a bit messy, a bit over-stuffed, a bit rough, but the lack of polish here is exactly what makes The Departed so fantastic. It's exposed, and it's wonderful.