Just recently, I heard “I’m Shippin’ Up to Boston” for the first time in ages. It was one of those ubiquitous songs back when this movie came out, especially in Boston. People crap their pants when they hear the name of their city in popular culture. I don’t know why. City names are pretty much interchangeable. I’m shippin’ up to Juneau WHOA-OH-OA!
So, yeah. In case you didn’t realize, this movie takes place in Boston. Some of the characters seem a little uncertain about whether they’re from Boston or not, based on their curious relationship with the letter R. I found the variability of accents rather interesting as a Boston transplant, because it was years before I actually began interacting with people with local accents on a regular basis, and this film makes it seem like every resident of Boston has to make an attempt at it. In reality, there are so many people like me who came as students that it feels like a different place entirely from the gang-driven world of The Departed. I mean, not that I’m complaining.
I’m going to spoil this movie here, but everybody dies by the end. Everybody. It’s like the end of Hamlet, where you kind of wonder who the hell is going to run Denmark now, but you’re never going to find out because it’s all over. To be fair, the title of the movie kind of gives it away. Apparently nobody is dearly departed, but they’re dead nonetheless.
Most of this movie was really enjoyable. It was full of tension and humor, with the sort of skillful dramatic irony to keep it interesting, and a few extra secrets kept until the end. But it’s the final half-hour or so that frustrated me. Unlike in Shakespeare’s tragedies, I couldn’t really see the point to it all once everyone kicked it. As a result, nothing was left ambiguous or open-ended. Maybe you can feel satisfied that whoever you hated got his comeuppance, but that’s tempered by the realization that nobody came out a victor, either. Except maybe the shrink. She slept with not one, but two, of her patients and probably didn’t even lose her license or anything.
Leo finally got his Oscar. Whitey Bulger finally got caught and sent to jail. They’ve stopped playing the Dropkick Murphys song constantly. All is well in Boston.
First Time Watching? Yes
Final Verdict: Hot psychiatrist pick-up line: “Have I seen you…professionally?”