The Departed (2006)
Dir. Martin Scorcese
Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director (Martin Scorcese), Best Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan), Best Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker)
Other nominees: Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen
Boston has a rat problem. That of the vermin variety, yes, but also those of the snitch variety. Martin Scorcese’s 2006 crime drama, The Departed, depicts a Massachusetts State Police Department as crooked operators as the crime rings they try to disassemble. The film questions personal identity and its subjugation for personal desire, as told by two men working the circuit in 21st Century Boston – Billy Corrigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), an undercover cop posing as a thug in a crime ring, and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), and undercover thug posing as a cop on a police force. The crime operation in question is run by a Frank Costello, a walking skeleton of human trash embodied with grace and a gut by Jack Nicholson.
Rats! Boston is lousy with ’em. Frank sees them everywhere, all crawling their way greedily towards the Boston State House, epitome of power.
Annie Hall (1977)
Dir. Woody Allen
Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director (Woody Allen), Best Actress (Diane Keaton), Best Original Screenplay (Woody Allen, Marshal Brickman)
Other Nominees: The Goodbye Girl, Julia, Star Wars, The Turning Point
Though Alvy is richly drawn, it’s hard to not see Woody as Woody, with all the baggage that entails.
After all these years, what is there left to say about Annie Hall? It was revolutionary, Diane is a treasure, Woody is a creep, such postmodern autocritical angst is passé, it’s a laugh, it’s so dated? I’ll admit upfront I’ve never been a fan of Allen and especially not of this film, though this viewing (my third if memory serves) proved to be my most enjoyable. The film is tight as a drum, clever, fast, meticulous, and for all of the wallowing in self pity, it’s strikingly to the point. So my question then morphs from what is there left to say to what can Annie Hall tell us today?