Movies I've Recently SeenThe Departed
Having seen Pan's Labyrinth and Children of Men I'd rather either of them had won the Oscar (or at least been nominated), but that being said this was a highly entertaining film. Great performances all around (although why Wahlberg got singled out from among Sheen, Nicholson, and Baldwin is beyond me), and a twisty story that kept me on the edge of my seat. Donnie Brasco did the "perils of going undercover" thing better, but I liked how Damon and DiCaprio played very similar characters who go down very different roads.
Not quite as good as advertised, but still a gorgeous, mesmerizing piece of work. The fantasy elements were wonderfully executed, with the Pale Man ranking as one of the all-time great creepy character designs, in my book at least. The brutal real-world violence was rougher and more explicit than I had anticipated - there's an early scene involving death by wine bottle that literally had me covering up the laptop screen with my hand. The one element that I can't quite grasp was the performance of the young actress who played the lead. Maybe it was the subtitles, and the fact that I couldn't exactly match her words with their meanings, but she seemed a bit flat, and unengaged at times. And yet at other times I found myself buying into her reality. But overall, this is highly recommended, with an ending that's both crushing and liberating, and one of the best endings to a film I've seen in a long while. (The advantages of fairy tales, I guess - the endings are allowed to be satisfying and not open-ended, as they seem to need to be in so much realistic fiction/film).)