Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Departed, and Bullet Proof Monk films

Thursday November 1st and it is a month since the funeral of my mother. I woke late after a troubled dream night. The dream was a good reminder of who I really am. I returned to bed after getting up and went back to sleep; getting back to sleep surprised, and the dream more so. It was getting on for 10 am before getting up and dressing and another half hour passed enjoying two pieces of marmalade toasts and a coffee and the decision to go out immediately for the penultimate Great War DVD. In the rush I forgot to take a proper look up at the sky but although it looked like it was going to rain when I took my first steps on the leaving home, I decided not to return. The combination of the hastily eaten breakfast and the damp feel of the air led me to cough the morning phlegm harder than usual and this in turn led to temporary indigestion. It commenced to rain spots as I walked hard up the hill back home. There was no inclination to attempt to connect the new light fitment and it would be left till Friday. It was going to be that kind of a day.

Last night I was home for the first time on Halloween. Usually I saw the dressed up children and their parents when visiting my mother and have previously commented on my AOL blog that under the influence of American films and TV the phenomenon appeared to have developed apace with supermarkets mounting major displays of costumes and masks. There are statistics which declare that over 90% of American children go trick or treating and 80% of adults planned to give out candy. I was dozing after my evening meal when there was a knock on the door so I was unprepared and quickly found some money. I returned to the dose after the second calling, went off to sleep and then realised that I might if I rushed get to the theatre in time for what had seemed an important play for me to see. It was a wasted effort as I arrived as they play commenced and I would have needed to buy a ticket, so I returned and looked at a Great War DVD.

Today I experienced two other Great War episodes together with the one from last night and wrote of my reactions. I ordered some inexpensive lever arch files at less than £1 a time, sufficient to qualify for free delivery and a commuter Flask and Mug set. Although it was after 4pm I was given a tomorrow delivery which is awkward because I would hate to miss the last DVD, but what if I wait in and the paper is sold out or the disks run out. I will set the telephone reminder to call me up at 7.30 and get to Smith's by car for 8.30. Smiths did not open until 9am and there are 26 episodes so Saturday not Friday is the last day. Silly me.

I have watched three films on TV recently. I missed the ending of the first, going to sleep. It was the story of a young woman in her mid twenties discovered living in an American forest who had been on her own since the death of her mother twenty years before when she was six years of age who had developed her own language, and only going out at night. There have been true stories of people who become locked into a period of time and then return to the present and have to adapt to the changes that have taken place. People imprisoned for decades, locked within a comma or kept in mental institutions and at least one former Japanese soldier hiding way in a jungle but in most if not all these instances they had become adults. The problems of adjusting will be that much more challenging if one had been a child, without education and social relationships and the film portrayed such issues in a moving and disturbing way. I did not note the title and wonder if it was based on a true life event.

Last night I watched glorious nonsense called the Bullet Proof Monk, the keeper of the scroll which provides an elixir for keeping one as an adult active individual, although it was never explained why, because the function of the keeper was to continue until passing it to someone suitable. Nor was it explained why the keeper having survived a near successful attempt to capture the scroll should chose to spend his years in America, except for the convenience of being able to star in a Hollywood film and pass the knowledge on to an American successor, who fortunately had undertaken some of the training to undertake great feats of balance and movement sufficiently to doge bullets or recover from them. It was noisy company while I did other things. Having seen some of the authentic Chinese productions I imagine public appetite for new B P Monk type films will wane.

Tonight I had similar intentions of watching and working until I quickly realised that I had previously intentionally missed out on what may be the best Martin Scorsese film and one of the great films of its genre, the Departed, which won Oscars for best film and best direction in 2006 as well as a host of other awards and nominations. I did not go to see in theatre at the time because I had experienced the original Internal/Infernal Affairs I, and assume this was Hollywood attempting to bring a successful foreign language film to a wider audience, and therefore unlikely to be an improvement. I had therefore kicked myself when it won awards and nominations and added to my internet mail order list, but then forgot the American given new title, or that it had been ordered until it arrived. What a treat which required undivided attention.

The justification for its critical and public success has two integrated components. The level of acting with its interaction between all those in the staring roles and the way the story is told which in addition to Director won an Oscar for its editor.

Two boys grow up in an Irish crime controlled neighbourhood of Boston. One is nurtured by the local crime boss played with tongue in cheek bravura by Jack Nicholson as surrogate son, who he grooms to become his man within the police Internal affairs department, and played by Matt Damon. The other, who is the young tearaway becomes a police undercover man whose identity is restricted to the head and deputy commander of the under cover unit played by West Wing President Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg whose performance rightly brought him awards and nominations The undercover officer, played by Leonardo di Caprio, is assigned to help bring down the head of the Irish mob whose second in command is played by Ray Winstone. As in Internal Affairs Damon and Leonardo are linked together by their involvement with an Occupational Psychiatrist who becomes the girl friend of Damon but also comes to professional treat Di Caprio on prison after care, as well as having a single encounter sexual relationship. The tension is built up with a series of unpredictable component endings, unless you have first seen Internal Affairs, which pulls you in contradictory directions. Will good or evil triumph?

Both men are victims of their childhoods, whose subsequent careers and lives are controlled by the father figure substitutes and which in turn contributes to the fate of the two father figures and their substitute sons. It is also a film why men do things which will lead to premature destruction and to hell, as well as self sacrificing on behalf of others. These men had choices deprived the millions killed in the Great War, or was what happened as inevitable as the development of events into the War?

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