Brow Beat

How Much Would You Pay to See a Rat-Less Version of The Departed?

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson sit at a table.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson in The Departed. Warner Bros.

Martin Scorsese’s The Departed may have won four Oscars and grossed more than $290 million at the box office, but, alas, it contains a fatal flaw. After an entire movie about mobsters trying to uncover a “rat” in their midst, a literal rat scampers across the frame, its lack of subtlety ruining the last scene and, arguably, the rest of the movie and the practice of filmmaking as a whole. Before we shut the entire industry down for good, however, a new Kickstarter campaign has an elegant solution: Just get rid of it.

“In the tradition of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas digitally altering their movies after the fact, I want to digitally erase the rat from the end of The Departed,” mastermind Adam Sacks explains. “But unlike Lucas and Spielberg’s changes, this will make The Departed a much better movie.” That’s where Sacks’ campaign backers will come in, because he says he needs $4,000 to get the job done.

Sacks’ proposal comes with an excruciating breakdown of how he’d use the money, with steps including buying a Blu-Ray version of The Departed, buying a Blu-Ray player to watch The Departed, and paying digital effects artist Ed Mundy to do the actual extermination. (Sacks notes that he settled on paying Mundy $599 “because if you pay someone $600 dollars or more, the IRS requires you to send them a 1099 MISC form at the end of the year, and that’s too much work for me.”) He also says he plans to hire an intern to burn copies of the newly edited masterpiece and promises to pay them fairly.

What do you, the potential backer, get out of pledging to assist Sacks? That depends on how much you’re willing to cough up. Donate a dollar or more and Sacks will thank you “in [his] heart.” For $20, he’ll send you “a before and after screenshot of one frame of the rat’s removal, so that you can imagine what the rest of the shot looks like.” For $70, he promises to buy a legal Blu-Ray copy of the The Departed and replace the disc with a rat-less version for you.

If Sacks does get a cease-and-desist from Warner Brothers, he could always try avenging some other filmmaking crimes, like a cinematic Batman. May I suggest cutting the the overwrought alternate ending of Pride & Prejudice released for American audiences? Now that’s a job for the hero we need.

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