A Kickstarter campaign started by a Brooklyn-based film director/editor to digitally remove a “painfully on-the-nose metaphor” from the end of Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film “The Departed” was quashed by Warner Bros. Entertainment over copyright infringement claims.
In “The Departed,” there’s a lot of talk about rats. Leonardo DiCaprio plays one, as a Boston cop who infiltrates the mob in order to bring down its fearsome boss, played by Jack Nicholson. Matt Damon, as a member of Nicholson’s gang who insinuates himself into the Boston police force, plays another one. Each side knows they’ve been infiltrated, and each side is determined to purge itself of its rat. The rat talk becomes literal in the film’s final shot, when (spoiler alert) an actual rat scurries across a balcony. That shot has become a sticking point for many of the film’s critics and fans. Some are not bothered by it, since they say the film wasn’t exactly subtle to begin with. William Monahan, who wrote the script for “The Departed,” says the purpose of the rat’s appearance was akin to the clown coming out at the end of a blood-soaked Jacobean drama, to take the edge off all the mayhem the audience had just witnessed. “I tell ya,” he told The Associated Press, “people would leave the theater feeling a lot different if it wasn’t for that rat.”
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