Watching the movie I am given the impression the viewer is expected to absorb the message in a sinister manner. I got hung up on these lines. Given that these are the first spoken words of the movie meant I lost my place a couple of times as I mulled the thought through.
Somewhere in the front third of the movie came another honey of a line. Replying to another actor that has stated that he feels like he is dying, Nicholson deadpans “We all are, act accordingly.”
Now I have two memorable lines running through my brain and my concentration on the movie began to develop slow leaks. I’m betting the director and writers were not expecting the audience might get hung up on contemplation over a couple of lines, but they are memorable lines aren’t they?
Can this first remarkable phrase about the environment be considered sinister? The actions, thoughts and behavior of Hitler or Bin Laden could prove this case in my reasoning. Could it be used in white ways? It sounds like the working philosophy of Jesus, Gandhi or Mother Teresa as well. This is truly a double edged sword of a phrase.
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want the environment to be a product of me.” We could all spend some time with that phrase. I thank the writers of The Departed for sharing it with me. Maybe it has an historical origin and my lack of literacy limits me having known this phrase before.
The second line that confirms we are all dying and therefore should ‘act accordingly’ carries equal paradox to the careful listener. We can turn that phrase inside out and re-write it as “We are all living, act accordingly” and then we might still wonder if we have the same meaning in place?
The movie itself is a twisting tale of violence and double-cross, the sort of
I’m taking away these two memorable lines to work with:
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want the environment to be a product of me.”….and….“We all are, act accordingly” in reference to dying.
For some reason I am reminded of another very memorable line given to Nicholson in the movie
These are three remarkable phrases to think about on Monday. I’m twisting them inside out and standing them upside down. I’m going to shake their pockets toward gravity later. I want to see if I can get a little more out of them.
For now, TTYL.