Rookie cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) grew up in crime. That makes him the perfect mole, the man on the inside of the mob run by boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). It's his job to win Costello's trust and help h... more »is detective handlers (Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen) bring Costello down. Meanwhile, SIU officer Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) has everyone's trust. No one suspects he's Costello's mole. How these covert lives cross, double-cross and collide is at the ferocious core of the widely acclaimed The Departed. Martin Scorsese directs, guiding a cast for the ages in a visceral tale of crime and consequences. This is searing, can't-look-away filmmaking: like staring into the eyes of a con - or a cop - with a gun.« less
Really amazing screenplay with great dialogue and an incredibly intricate plot. I thought it ran a bit long at 2.5 hours, but I guess Scorsese has earned a little extra latitude.
Not A Departure For Scorsese
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 10/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After getting some uncalled for flack recently for his films "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator" director Martin Scorsese returns to those gritty mean streets he seems to know oh so well. How odd it is then to find out that the film did not come from Scorsese's imagination. Instead it is a remake of the 2004 Hong Kong action/thriller "Infernal Affairs". But, that doesn't really matter because Scorsese takes the material and makes it his own.
"The Departed" is going to get some unfair comparisons with "Infernal Affairs" from devoted fans of the original. I never like to do that. I also don't like when people compare the book to the movie version. Both pieces of work exist within their own world. They are seperate from each other.
Leonardo DiCaprio (the recent favorite of Scorsese, whom in my opinion needs to find a new muse already) plays Billy Costigan, who comes from a poor working class family that mostly consist of family member who were on the wrong side of the law (depending which side of the law you're on). He has managed though to work his way up and become a cop.
Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, who appears to be the exact opposite. Sullivan is one of those people who probably got straight "A's", stayed at home and studied while you were out playing baseball and was a loner. He too has become a police officer who is well thought of and clearly on a successful path.
These two characters never share a great amount of screentime together in "The Departed" but their impact on each other is apparent throughout the entire film.
Costigan is told by one of his superior officers Oliver Queenam (Martin Sheen) that because of his background he is not really "police material". Queenam flat out tells him you will never make it as a cop. So Queenam tells Costigan he has a special assignment for him. He wants Costigan to go undercover and get into Frank Costello's (Jack Nicholson) inner circle where the Boston Police have been trying to arrest him for years.
"The Departed" soon takes on one of Scorsese's favorite themes, childhood loyalty. Sullivan, back in his youth, became very friendly with Costello and now as a cop has turned into a crooker officer. How will the Boston police ever catch Costello?
The performances in "The Departed" are all pitch perfect. DiCaprio and Damon, who get top billing, are not just the only two worth watching. Even supporting characters like the ones played by Alec Baldwin and just so it's not all all boy's show, Vera Farmiga as Madolyn are both enjoyable to watch. But, perhaps the most memorable performances is the one given by Jack Nicholson. Rarely has an actor relished playing a villian moreso. The sheer exuberance of his performance makes the screen come alive. This isn't the Jack of recent films like "Something's Gotta Give" and "About Schmidt". Jack lets loose here and plays the role with the same spirit he did the Joker in "Batman". I would even go as far as saying every performance here deserves to get an Oscar nomination.
Some people may ask is this film as good as Scorsese's other films? That's a stupid question. Who cares? It seems, according to the reviews and box-office numbers (this marks Scorsese's highest box-office debut) people are responding well to this film. It is a powerful, well made gangster film that is about more than violence. As I said it is about loyalty and who we choose to give that loyalty to. This is one of the best films of the year! In fact the movie is so good I'm sure Scorsese will lose another Oscar race, just as his best films always do.
Bottom-line: One of the year's best films. "The Departed" finds Scorsese going back to the gritty mean streets of his past and makes this remake a work of his own. Every performance here deserves to get nominated.
The Departed - A twisted crime thriller
Eddie Lancekick | Pacific Northwest | 02/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wasn't sure what to expect upon viewing this film. I was aware of Scorsese's projects of the past, but it was perhaps the diverse cast that included Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin and Jack Nicholson that made it to tempting to pass up. It is in the pot for "Best film of the Year" so its not like I was expecting it to be bad, it just took me a while to get around to it!
The Departed is a great crime drama that isn't so much high on the "drama" setting as much as it is high on "whodunit" suspense. I won't say too much in terms of creating any spoilers so I'll just lightly touch on the storyline. Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, a kid who grew up under the wing of Frank Costello (Nicholson) who tutors the boy at a young age of his own views of life and business among other things. Later on in life Colin becomes a cop, and quickly works his way up the ranks. DiCaprio is Billy Costigan, another cop who has to take a different route in order to ultimately be an undercover agent. Wahlberg is Sergeant Dignam, who is a sidekick to Martin Sheen's character, Captain Queenan. Their job is to oversee the internal investigation into Castillo and ultimately bring him down. Alec Baldwin is Captain Ellerby, who puts Colin in charge of finding a snitch within the ranks of the police department. Things start to get tight for Castillo, a guy who has a multitude of his own henchman to sort through in order to find out if the rumor of a snitch within his own house is truth or myth.
The film is superb in it's character development. Each actor has a great part and brings to the table all the creative skill and mannerisms necessary to bring unique and innovative qualities to the screen. The stakes are high, and the show does an excellent job of mixing in all the bullet flying, cursing double-crossing you can shake a stick at. The pacing is perfect as we get time to learn something from each scene and activity, while trying figure out just how it all is going to boil down. As the film progresses, the action heats up as well as the internal drama that unfolds within the side of law enforcement as well as Castillo's operations. Throw in the beautiful Vera Farmiga as Madolyn and you have even more twists added to the film. Madolyn is a professional counselor who ends up deeper in the storm than you could imagine.
Scorsese does an excellent job with this film and my hat is off to a fine performance by all. The domino effect of a final reckoning never seems to end, although it eventually does, but in the meantime it still leaves the film planted with a bevy of surprises at every turn. Yes, it does have profanity and graphic violence, but if you've watched your share of crime drama's that are gritty and have a hair trigger, you should not be surprised. -Eddie Lancekick"
Brilliant remake of "Infernal Affairs"
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a tricky business adapting a foreign movie for an American audience. Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" captures all the best elements of the original film "Infernal Affairs" and works traditional Scorsese themes and material into the film making it very much his own and every bit the equal to the Chinese film. Featuring outstanding performances all around perhaps this film will finally earn Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director that he deserved for "Raging Bull" over twenty years ago.
Two state trooper academy graduates one an undercover officer named Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a mole in the department Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) working for crime lord Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson)have opposite goals. Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) charge Costigan with gathering as much dirt as possible on Sullivan so they can finally take him out. They work up a false history for Costigan which includes a brief stint in prison to create credibility. By comparison Sullivan is a boy scout who rises to the top of his department rapidly working for Ellerby (Alec Baldwin)in a rival department. Both are charged with ferriting out the mole in their respective organizations and both are romancing the same woman (Vera Farmiga) without ever meeting.
It's a brilliantly constructed game of cat and mouse with each playing the respective role at one point in time. Filled with brilliant visuals that echo the themes of the script adapted by William Monahan ("Kingdom of Heaven")from the script by Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong the film manages to stay true to the elements that worked best in the Chinese film while incorporating elements unique to "The Departed". DiCaprio and Damon give complex, compelling performances as opposite sides of the same coin. Nicholson plays Costello with psychopathic intensity at times without going too far over the top. The entire cast gives stellar performances but I'd like to note tree actors in particularly who do the most with their limited roles--Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen (who replaced two other actors that had to drop out--Robert DeNiro and Gerard McSorley)and Mark Whalberg all three give intense performances and inhabit their characters fully. Vera Farmiga handles her role of Madolyn equalling the big boys despite the fact that her character isn't given as much screen time by comparison. Special note should also be made of actor Ray Winstone ("The Proposition", "King Arthur" and "Cold Mountain") who gives a nice edgy performance as Mr. French.
The film runs 2 hours and 22 minutes. Scorsese uses every minute to allow the actors to build their characters or for brilliant set pieces. The film does sag a bit towards the middle but that's partially due to its complex set up for the story during the first twenty minutes of the film.
Moles and the insidious tunnels they dig
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Martin Scorsese has another major hit on his hands with the release of the intelligent, chilling, violent, puzzling, and completely fascinating THE DEPARTED. This viewer has not seen the INFERNAL AFFAIRS on which this film is based so comparisons are not possible. But taking this film solely on its own merits this is one gripping piece of cinematic art. Beginning with a very smart script by William Monahan (apparently based on the original screenplay by Siu Fai Mak) and employing one of the best ensemble casts of the year, Scorsese does what he does best in giving us a film that holds our attention, our breath, and our applause throughout.
The story involves two young recently graduated from police academy, men from opposite sides of the law and backgrounds, who are made moles within the Boston State Police department and the Irish mafia: Leonardo DiCaprio is one and Matt Damon is the other and both young actors turn in committed and convincing performances. On the polar aspects of the battleground are Jack Nicholson as the crime king Costello (his finest work since 'A Few Good Men') together with Ray Winstone as Mr French and on the other end are DiCaprio's mentors Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg and Damon's mentors Alec Baldwin et al. The very beautifully written female lead is played to perfection by Vera Farmiga who finally has a role (a conflicted psychiatrist for the moles) hat takes full advantage of her prodigious gifts as an actress.
Some may find the violence obsessively graphic, but then this is Scorcese's style and for this viewer it is necessary for the drive of the story. It is impossible to stop concentrating for a moment during this rapid fire drama, spiced with just the right amount of wry humor, making its running time (in excess of two and a half hours) speed by as fast as the many bullets in the atmosphere. This is one of Scorsese's best films and one that begs to be seen again. Grady Harp, October 06
Scorcese's Scorching Return!
R. A. Bean | knoxville, tn usa | 03/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Martin Scorcese is the most overrated, overly hyped, highly praised director living today. And, for what? Well, I'll tell you: It's for his latest film, "The Departed"! He did once make some really great films, like "Mean Streets", "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore", "Taxi Driver", "The Color of Money", and "Goodfellas". But, that's been over 15 years ago. "Casino" was alright, but it was just an attempt at remaking "Goodfellas". And, films like "Gangs of New York", "Bringing Out the Dead", and "The Aviator" were just atrocious. His remake of "Cape Fear" was good, but nowhere near as great as he used to be. But, lo and behold, Marty has remade another film, "Infernal Affairs", and made himself a new classic that he deserved every accolade thrown his way for. He definetly deserved the Best Director award at the Academy Awards for this. For all of you people who praise Scorcese like he's God, well, I have to say you're right on this one. This is an extremely deep and profound and intense fast paced masterpiece of modern cinema that will leave you utterly breathless in practically every scene. And, it is rich with irony! Especially the plot of having, not one, but two moles, each one on a different side than the other. Brilliant storytelling at its best! I just didn't like that a certain character got killed in the end that should have lived, but that's not going to taint my judgement of this great film. Scorcese is on fire here, making quick cuts left and right, entering scenes through a circle point of view, cutting back and forth between scenes and characters, past and present, and using an extremely terrific soundtrack to boost the film along like a freight train to H*ll. This kicks people like Tarantino back into Kindergarden!! This is possibly the best crime thriller genre film that I've seen in years. Everybody in the film is perfect for their roles, and their performances all shine through. This isn't near as gory as a lot of people make it out to be. It is violent, but no more so than any of Coppolla's "Godfather" films, and even less so than Scorcese's own "Goodfellas". Marty really out did himself with this one. He is the King!! Here's to hoping that he will stay on this winning streak of making great films again, instead of having to wait another 15 years. Thank you."