Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: The Departed

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. MAJOR SPOILERS will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

After featuring the 2005 Best Picture winner last week, let’s jump ahead to 2006, when Martin Scorsese finally got his Oscar for the brilliant gangster movie “The Departed.” Based on a 2002 film called “Infernal Affairs” from Hong Kong, screenwriter William Monahan took a terrific story of parallel moles and turned it into an authentic American film with a style of its own. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon were perfectly cast as a cop going undercover in the mob and a mobster serving as a cop, respectively. This scene, which comes near the end of the film, expands on the corresponding scene in the Hong Kong original considerably, in a furiously fast and astounding flurry of bullets. Watching DiCaprio’s Billy drop with a bullet straight to the head the moment the elevator is the first utter shock, and it doesn’t stop after that, as Damon’s Colin takes a moment to process just what’s happening and hasn’t even fully comprehended it when James Badge Dale’s Barrigan pops Anthony Anderson’s Brown in the head. At that point, Colin understands and decides that three dead men can’t contradict his story, giving Barrigan a taste of his own medicine. The only thing that improves upon the scene is the film’s ending in which Colin contends with the one person who actually knows what happened. There’s simply nothing like it, and this is a superb illustration of why this really is Scorsese’s shining career achievement.

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