I watched a couple movies with crime and murder and detection as strong central themes in them in the last couple weeks. One I liked, the other was disappointing. It’s not what you’d think, and is not what other critics might say.
CAUTION SPOILER ALERT
Woody Allen’s Scoop involved Scarlett Johanssen (who, though pretty and allegedly easy, isn’t a very convincing actress) and Woody Allen, who’s generally annoying onscreen (and not that pretty to look at). A key plot device was a reporter leaping off of death’s boat to come back from the dead with clues for the whimsical detective partnering of Johanssen and Allen. Getting his one final “Scoop.”
Departed involved Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leo Dicaprio, Martin Sheen, i mean, awesome actors, and was directed by Martin Scorcese. So an awesome movie right?
Scoop, if I can compare the two, and I can, was much more enjoyable. And here’s why: At the end of the film everybody didn’t shoot everybody else.
Departed had me all the way through the film, but then right at the end the twisty plot got even twistier because everybody was crossing everybody else, but by crossing I mean shooting them in the head. This packed some dramatic impact, but mostly left us giggling at the inanity. Good film, enjoyable, gripping even, what with good-guy-acting-bad, bad-guy-acting-good, a love triangle, strong performances and then wham! right when it (finally) gets to the crux of the matter and Leo and Matt face off against one another a whole bunch of people (including Leo) get shot in the head. Problem solved, dramatic tension disappated. Then, amazingly, Matt’s character gets shot in the head too.
Great. So now both our protagonists dead (actually all four main guys) and the despicably unsympathetic Mark Wahlberg lives?
Although I’m sure, extrapolating on the trend at the end of the film, he gets shot in the head very shortly after.
The point is, shooting everybody in the head doesn’t make a movies ending dramatic, it just mean all the characters one spent so long getting attached to are dead. Which would be tragic I suppose, but because they were all “rats” I can’t even feel that sorry for them, I just kinda end up not caring, but missing them anyway, because theyw ere all I had in the film. Which means the film really craps out at the end.
Scoop on the other hand was a fun detective story: well written and engaging. And then I wasn’t disappointed at the end; not everybody, in fact nobody got shot in the head at the end. There was only one twist, and I kinda saw it coming, but still I felt much better walking out of the theatre after that one.
Score (another) one for Woody.
Marty: bbblllpppttthhh! Actually the first 142 minutes of your film get a 9 out of 10. the last 9 get a 2 out of 10.