2006 Muriel Awards

Best Screenplay, 2006


The Departed, William Monahan

"Of course it's sharp and compelling and formally impressive; what surprises is that this film, built around twin life-or-death situations and constructed from slickness and paranoia, is funny. Really funny. (Best exchange, bar none: "How's your mother?" "Good. Still tired from fucking my father.") The premise, imported from the HK action winner Infernal Affairs, turns out to be as close to unfuckupable as most people suspected, and all Monahan and Scorsese really had to do was give the plot wheels a little push and everything would have turned out fine. Instead of that just-add-water approach that would have enticed lesser filmmakers into creating a mere punch-press modest entertainment, they aim big. The Departed is infused with a marvelous sense of local Boston color and enough close character work to propel the average novel; these inclusions transform the film from a crackerjack thriller into something more satisfying -- a gusting tapestry of human nature under pressure, at turns hilarious and heart-stopping."- Steven Carlson

Best Screenplay

Frank Costello: Have a seat, Bill.
[Costigan sits down at Costello's dinner table]
Frank Costello: [while eating crab] Do you know John Lennon?
Billy Costigan: Yeah, sure, he was the president before Lincoln.
Frank Costello: Lennon said, "I'm an artist. You give me a fucking tuba, I'll get you something out of it."
Billy Costigan: [sarcastically] Well I tell you Mr. Costello, I'd like to squeeze some fucking money out of it.
Frank Costello: Smart mouth. Too bad. If you'll indulge me...
[sees Gwen leaving]
Frank Costello: Now what?
Gwen: Choir practice.
Frank Costello: [annoyed] Choir practice.
[Costello pulls out a severed human hand]
Frank Costello: The point I'm making with John Lennon is - a man could look at anything, and make something out of it. For instance, I look at you and I think "what could I use you for?"

Category rankings:
1. The Departed [William Monahan] (49 points, 7 votes)
2. Children of Men [Alfonso Cuaron & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby] (38/6)
3. The Prestige [Christopher and Jonathan Nolan] (29/4)
4. Inside Man [Russell Gewirtz] (25/4)
5. Pan's Labyrinth [Guillermo Del Toro] (24/4)
6. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story [Frank Cottrell Boyce] (19/4)
7. Brick [Rian Johnson] (18/3)
8. Little Children [Todd Field and Tom Perrotta] (17/3)
9. Proposition [Nick Cave] (15/3)
10. Little Miss Sunshine [Michael Arndt) (14/3)
11. A Prairie Home Companion [Garrison Keillor and Ken LaZebnik] (13/3)
12. United 93 [Paul Greengrass] (11/2)
13. A Scanner Darkly [Richard Linklater] (10/2)

The following screenplays received one vote apiece:
Borat: Cultural Learnings of American for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
C.S.A.: Confederate States of America
Clerks II
Down in the Valley
Duck Season
Flags of Our Fathers
Half Nelson
Letters From Iwo Jima
Old Joy
The Painted Veil
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
The Puffy Chair
Russian Dolls
Stranger Than Fiction
Thank You for Smoking