Wednesday, January 17, 2007

X Marks

It turns out part of what gives The Departed its edgy angst is the proliferation of "X's" as a design motif throughout the picture.

Rene Rodriguez at the Miami Herald has the screenshots to prove it:
I recently went through the film again on DVD to see how many Xs I could find. To avoid even a hint of spoilers, I've arranged the frames out of chronological order. But if you've seen The Departed, you'll get an extra kick out of these. And if you haven't, Warner re-releasing it to theaters on Jan. 26, so no excuses.

Amen to all that. According to production notes posted on Rotten Tomatoes:
The letter X was also used symbolically throughout the movie, at the behest of Scorsese, who meant it as an homage to the 1932 movie "Scarface," directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Howard Hughes, in which the X has a special significance. "Marty asked us to utilize the letter X wherever we could," Zea reveals, "so you can see X's on windows, on walls, on floors..."

"The X is a sign of death, so Marty wanted us to include them—sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly," adds Ballhaus, who even used lighting to project X's into certain scenes.

The concept of death harkens back to the title. Monahan explains, "In the Catholic Church, we would refer to the dead as 'the faithful departed.' I started playing around with that idea and the fact that, ironically, this movie is about faithlessness—to others, of course, but most fatally to the characters' own best interests, so I thought the title fit."

And there you have it, Devils with Dirty Faces as Scorsese called it the other night on the podium. And, per IMDB trivia:
The word "fuck" and its derivatives are said 237 times throughout the film.

You can check for yourself how many times they say the "c" word.

Best Picture material?

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