The ending scene of The Departed: the dirt and the blues lament

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In some moments the music, as well as any form of art, can be almost a religious experience (using David Foster Wallace words): if we stop for a moment, we interrupt our daily inertia, we clear our mind and we reflect on it, we realize how absurd it is that just a sequence of sounds can communicate something so profound, meaningful.

Roy Buchanan, along with other superb artists, has the ability to strike straight to the heart with his Telecaster, letting us live the mystical experience: one of his ballads, Sweet Dreams, has been chosen by Martin Scorsese (who has always been a fan of blues, as his numerous documentaries show), in order to dramatically close The Departed and accompany the killing of the infiltrated Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon).

The mouse that appears in the last scene, on the window of Sullivan’s house, shows that the dirt exists everywhere, also in an organ that guarantee justices like the Police Department.

There was nobody better than Buchanan to close this film: his guitar alternates short, repeated exchanges, with almost ethereal notes, to others passages where we are overwhelmed by the extraordinary speed and technique. Even more evocative is the sound, similar to a lament, a symbolic cry created by manipulating the volume, emulating a violin brought to its extremes. His guitar is a voice: it is a living body that speaks and listens. “Listen to what?”, we would rightly ask. It listens to life, its drama, the pathos that alternates joyful, moving moments (the initial riff), to chaos of everyday life (the inertia we said before).

Sweet Dreams is all this and much more: it is not possible to enclose it, like any great work of art, in an objective and exhaustive description. It would also be useless, because we would lose the magic: the wonder that comes from the fact that the world is as it is, and mankind is as it is: sensitive.

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