At the Movies
A couple disappointments, though the first is at least worth seeing. Scorsese’s The Departed has been greeted almost uniformly by critics and audiences with cries of “It’s about time!” now that he’s back doing gangsters. But there are times when the camera seems rote, the director less atuned to the script than to his actors — Matt Damon, Leonard DiCaprio, Vera Famiga — who turn in some of the finest performances of this or any other year. There is reason for that, since the script is an Irish-Catholic-Boston update of the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs that is nice and twisty enough with its plots within plots, but it lacks the societal groundwork of Scorsese’s more nuanced classics. That said, but for Jack Nicholson, doing a painfully unfunny exercise in criminal camp, this could have been a great one.
My review ran in CultureDose.net.Link.
Second and definitely least is Terry Gilliam’s disastrous Tideland, which strives for a sort of cracked Lewis Carroll view on a child’s harrowing adventures after her junkie parents OD, but ends up merely a queasy failure from a director who rarely seems to fulfill his considerable promise. It’s hard to explain exactly what Gilliam was thinking here, with all his whacked and whonky camera angles and clumsy dealings with extremely serious topics involving children — maybe after so many failures and almost-hits, he just doesn’t care anymore. And if you’d been through all that he had with the making of Brazil, Adventures of Baron Munchasen, and the completely aborted Man of La Mancha, you’d probably be in the same place yourself.
My review ran in filmcritic.com. Link.