we all know how much i’m currently consumed by the brilliance of ‘the departed‘. its one of those classic crime drama movies, the kind i love.. the kind i watch over and over again. to reiterate, for the record – scarface: 4, goodfellas: 3, casino: 3, once upon a time in america: 2, the godfather trilogy: too many, satya: too many, company: 5, d: 2, the untouchables: 3. you get the idea.
and so, we finally have a new crime drama after a while. and its not a disappointing load of tripe, like some of the recent stuff from the same director (specifically: gangs of new york. hindi revenge movies are better.). its lauded, rightly, as brilliant. in every way.
so, we’re roaming, we’re tripping, we decide to catch a movie. its past-10 pm, our choices are limited. lo and behold: ‘the departed’ is on show at 10:30. there is also some hindi movie.. but ‘the departed’ ?! this is called ‘fate’. we catch dinner, we skip into the theatre.
‘4 tickets for the 10:30 show of The Departed.’
‘4? Together ?’
‘That’ll be $___’
[Swiping, signing, exchanging receipts, tickets, and cards]
‘Its theatre 16, down the hall.’
‘Theatre 16 ? 10:30 show ?’
‘Is a lot over ?’
‘Naah.. probably like 5 minutes or so.’
and so, elated, excited, and ecstatic (well, me anyway), we locate the theatre at the back of the complex. we walk in on a scene with a lot of the main characters. gasps from the crowd, we’re just stunned. 30 seconds later, the hall is dead-silent, and we’re looking at each other.. ‘wow ! that was an awesome scene !‘. another scene later, we’re completely floored. a bit more, and i’m wondering just how non-linear the story is.
and then, the words ‘directed by martin scorcese’ flash up. white on black. ‘the titles just got over ? and its already this awesome ? wo..‘
then the people sitting next to me stand up, and look at us expectantly. i look at the rest, really puzzled. what was going on ? the movie had just started, right ? right ?
nothing more for it, we had to get up to make way. watching people exit the theatre. possibilities ranged. obviously, it was the end of the movie. could it be that we were too early for the show ? that we’d ruined one of the best movies of the year by entering too early ? but the ticket dude had said 5 minutes were over, not 5 minutes to go. we’d ruined the best movie of the year. would the next show be starting now ? still standing. the movie is over. we’d watched the climax, the conclusion of one of the best movies of the decade. no movie, just conclusion. thoroughly puzzled.
we went back to the counter. explained it all. different person, we point out the dunderhead who’d sent us to the theatre.
‘Oh, but the 10:30 show is in theatre 3, not theatre 16.’
‘The movie is in theatre 3, you want to go watch it there ?’
‘But you said..’
‘Well.. [looking at screen].. its theatre 3.’
‘So you just ruined a really amazing movie for us ?’
‘It started in theatre 3, you can go watch it there.’ [its 11:10 pm, the show was for 10:30; max start 10:40 pm]
‘What, are you kidding me ?’
‘You want your money back ?’ [opens register, counts money.]
she didn’t seem to get it. they’d successfully managed to send us into a movie that was minutes away from the final knockout punch. the orchestrated climax. and we’d watched it. not knowing what was going on. and we knew how it all came down. and she didn’t seem to care.
hell, it was just a movie. but when you muck up, you usually say sorry. it was the rule, right ? apparently not. apparently its ok to completely ruin a weekend night, and ruin one of the best movies to come out in recent times. we’re supposed to take our money, understand that this is how it works here, and walk out. they didn’t even seem to care. and there weren’t 20 people demanding attention at the same time. we were the only people, everyone else was enjoying the movie they came to see. unruined.
she was busy trying to pack up and get out of there. money given, we could go to hell.
[epilogue: we didn’t. i fought. and got free tickets. which i would have offered on the spot anyway. but i don’t think i’m ever going back there again. i saw ‘the departed’ last week, and its a tribute to scorcese that the ending lacked none of the killer punch.]