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The Departed October 25, 2006

Posted by Winter in film, misogyny, reviews.


It may well be that, having not watched many (any?) Martin Scorsese films, that did not view this one through the somewhat hazy and rose tinted spectacles of nostalgia, and so I may not be getting ‘the point.’ However I fail to see what all the fuss is about, and if this is Scorsese returning to form, I certainly won’t be viewing the back catalogue. But of course, I am going to make a little fuss of my own, because we like to do that now and again here at Mind the Gap.

This film is lazily homophobic and sexist, I say this because I am sure there are more creative homophobic slurs in existence than ‘faggot’ and ‘homo’, but these are the only two that get a look in as characters get randomly accused of being ‘a homo’ throughout the film (of course there aren’t actually any homosexual characters in the film at all). Women, I’m afraid, are referred to through out the film by the collective noun ‘cunts’. Yes ladies, we are our vaginas and nothing more. In fact from the three examples of female characters put forwards in this film (caricatured as the office totty, the love interest and the gang bosses mistress, so as not to confuse the audience with any kind of female complexity) it is quite clear that Scorsese doesn’t really do women, apart from in the most literal sense of course. All three women had regulation tight bottoms, long floppy hair and the ‘love interest’ (who was also a psychiatrist who just happened to exceptionally thin and beautiful) had an annoying habit of leaking tears all over the place after the first sex scene was over.

But that’s not all. This film is deeply conventional and against the context of gang films available, the violence isn’t even shocking. There is even a jaunty scene where Ray Winston makes a joke about murdering his wife, gosh how amusing. This film is ten years too late to be shocking, and from the first 10 minutes you know everyone is going to die. In fact if you just sliced the last 20 minutes off this film you would vastly improve it by giving it some nuance and complexity. As it is, there is little point to it as it fails to ask any nuanced questions about the nature of good and bad or the psychology of the characters, bar that of Leonardo DeCaprio. Mat Damon is a consistent cardboard cut out bad guy who doesn’t even seem to have some fun with his part.

This is another film that is so liberal in it’s blood splattering, I assume to establish it as a ‘serious, adult’ film that it has the faint whiff of a group of men who never quite got over being beaten by gangs of boys in the school yard. This is of course a very male interpretation of what is serious and adult, and I’m sure it will appeal not only to those in the grip of Scorsese nostalgia, but also to 18 year old school boys giving it a guaranteed audience. Frankly I find the whole thing rather juvenile and primitive. I can only assume that because Scorsese made it has been given some artistic kudos but frankly it’s not that good. This is a remake of the (superior) Hong Kong based film Infernal Affairs and I can only assume it was made for people who can’t be bothered to read subtitles.

On the plus side, Leonardo DeCaprio acts the pants of everyone, while Jack Nicholson gives a fine performance in his trade mark psychopath role.



1. Winter - October 27, 2006

Ack. Out of interest, did you express your views to any me and did they see what you saw?

2. Naiades - October 30, 2006

K agrees, he didn’t dislike the film as much as i did but he did see the same things in it. I havn’t spoken to anyone else who has seen it.

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