I think that a little bit of symbolism is a good thing. It can take a poem from, "Oh, that was a nice little poem about ducks and beetles." to "Wait, it's supposed to represent society's industrialization and current social problems whhhhhaaaaatt."
But we're not going to talk about poems here; we're going to talk about movies, some of which actually have some pretty deep symbolism (like, I haven't seen Life of Pi, but I hear there's something crazy going on with the tiger). Sometimes I think that movies take their symbolism too far, though, or actually just are really bad at making it subtle. They basically just throw these things at you so that, afterward, you feel like a ton of symbolistic babies just threw up on you. And not in a good way.
There are tons of reasons why you should watch The Departed. Like, maybe that it won Best Picture, Director (Scorsese!), and Adapted Screenplay at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Or that both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star in it. Basically the only negative thing about The Departed is Jack Nicholson's penis. Anyway, a short plot description would be that: Damon is a cop but really a rat for the bad guys and DiCaprio is a bad guy but really working for the cops and shit definitely goes down. At the end of the movie, in Damon's up-town, fancy new apartment, a single rat is shown running across the railing to the balcony. Yes, rats. How very subtle.
In one of the few romantic comedies I can stand to watch, Under the Tuscan Sun, the blaringly obvious symbolism makes The Departed's rat look as subtle as, well, something that's very subtle. I seriously don't have enough time to fully describe all of the symbolic things in UtTS, so here's a list:
-The old man with the flowers
-The dry/leaky/running faucet
-The Crazy Ass Bird Lady
-The renovations going on in the house
-The house itself
-The blue vase
-The “train tracks in the Alps” story
In spite of the obvious, and sometimes just ridiculous, symbolism in these movies, both got positive reviews on rottentomatoes.com (93%, The Departed; 61%, Under the Tuscan Sun).
And while the rat in the formerly mentioned basically teaches the watcher nothing, one might be able to actually get a little lesson (or twenty) out of all of the shit going on in UtTS. You know, if you're an emotionally-unstable woman looking for some guidance in your love life. The Departed can't really help you with that.