Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Top Ten Movies of All Time

Number 9:

The Departed (2006)

Directed by:  Martin Scorcese

Starring:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen

Oscars (winners in bold):  5 Nominations (4 wins) - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Supporting Actor

Ranking on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie List (2007):  N/A 

Review:  This movie just plain blew me away.  My respect for Scorcese as a filmmaker is a pretty recent development so I went to see this movie as nothing more than entertainment value, quickly realizing this would be the best one of the year and one of the best I have ever seen. 

What Scorcese has proved a master of is the ability to interweave the stories of extremely flawed individuals seamlessly (see: Goodfellas, Casino).  He is also very good at making us care for these individuals despite their flaws, and this movie is no different.

The movie follows the lives of DiCaprio, Damon, and Nicholson as Damon is a corrupt cop in cahoots with gangster Nicholson whose gang is infiltrated by straight laced undercover cop Dicaprio.  The way all these storylines interweave is truly a masterstroke of filmmaking, and deserving of all the praise it gets.  The ending completely caught me by surprise and I was slackjawed for nearly the entire last 15 minutes of the movie.  If you can do that to me as a filmmaker you have made yourself a good movie and this is a prime example.

Why this made the list:

My love for Scorcese wasn't quite at the level it is now when this movie came out, so I just went in thinking it was going to be your normal cops & gangsters fair.  What I didn't see coming was the extra layer that only a filmmaker such as Scorcese can add to a film. 

This movie is what really solidified Scorcese, in my mind anyway, as one of the best directors of all time.  His ability to paint his characters so clearly and make the audience empathize with them so greatly, flaws and all, is a special skill that no other director working today has, at least not at this level. 

Finally, this movie winning Scorcese his long overdue best director oscar and winning best picture is what lifted my ban against the Academy Awards, so I guess it has to get points for that right?  Anyway, this is just an extremely well made film that is rewatchable and captivated me from beginning to end and even addad a little shock factor with the ending.  Great writing, directing, and acting are why this movie makes my list.

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