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The Departed

2006 crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese

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An Apt Title For A Film With A Very High Body Count

  • Nov 11, 2007
  • by
Pros: Outstanding cinematography; compelling story-line; outstanding acting and direction.

Cons: Oh the profanity.

The Bottom Line: All-n-all The Departed was an enjoyable film and well worth seeing a second or third time, you know to catch what you may have missed the first or second viewing.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

I grew up in New England for the most part, in Newport, Rhode Island, so I am well familiar with Boston propensity for violence and organized crime mayhem. The fabled Irish gangs that infest Boston’s seedier neighborhoods are also a (waning) fixture in Providence, the capitol of Rhode Island. But Boston provides the back-drop for the latest Martin Scorsese blood-soak drama The Departed, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2007.


Directed by the aforementioned Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York), The Departed (2006) is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Internal Affairs.

In this retelling infamous Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello portrayed by one Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail, The Postman Always Rings Twice, A Few Good Men) plants his protégé, career criminal Colin Sullivan portrayed by Matt Damon (Field of Dreams, Courage under Fire, Good Will Hunting) as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police Department. At the same time, the State Police order Billy Costigan, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond, The Aviator, Titanic), to infiltrate Costello's crew, going so far as to make the young men do time in the state prison as part of his cover. When either side of the game realizes that there is mole in their respective organizations, each man is ordered to discover the identity of the other informant before they are found out.

A plot twist not in the original film: a blond haired, blue-eyed police shrink Madolyn Madden (Vera Farmiga – The Manchurian Candidate, Touching Evil) who hooks up romantically with both protagonists, and at the end of the film ends up pregnant, but by whom?

My Thoughts

The Departed is clearly one of Scorsese’s best. The plot is thick with intrigue, twists, turns and plenty of violence. I have to admit that the language was a bit harsh; i.e. these guys cussed more than a drunken sailor on his best night. It’s hard for me to believe that there can be that level of unprofessional, disrespectful demeanor in any effective organization.

However, beyond that The Departed is standard Scorsese fair; the movie concentrates heavily on family and betrayal, and what forms the construct of both. The lead characters (DiCaprio and Damon) are essentially loners, but they are linked to the world of Boston South-side (Southies) gangsters by blood ties. It’s clear why one decided to become a Trooper, as the Mass. State Police refer to their officers, but the other is a mystery. Is it to divest himself of family ties, or it is a form of redemption that only he can understand?

Along the way each man is guilty of at least one betrayal, but whom or what are they betraying when one organization is seemingly as corrupt and self-serving as the other, and honor is a dirty word?

The end The Departed ramps up the body count in typical Scorsese fashion; i.e. with lots of blood and detachment, and a few surprises. All-n-all The Departed was an enjoyable film and well worth seeing a second or third time, you know to catch what you may have missed the first or second viewing.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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More The Departed reviews
review by . August 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Martin Scorcesse is one of Hollywood's most beloved directors.  When he made himself well known with Taxi Driver in the 70's (another fine film).  The Departed is far from being Martin Scorcesse's best film, but it is among the best (Goodfellas and Raging Bull are still better).  The Departed is a very stylistic movie.  For those who are bothered by violence (and if you are why on earth are you watching a Martin Scorcesse film anyway?) there's quite a bit in it.  Also, as …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A modern classic. Great script and great performences. Leo is amazing. You cant beat Jack Nicholson.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The story itself did not feel like anything new but the directing and editing kept the tension high throughout the film. Everyone in the cast gave powerful deliveries and the Scorsese did an incredible job. I just don't know if it deserved best picture of the year.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Departed is a pretty fun movie to watch, even if there are many parts of it that are especially brutal. It's a very violent, very bloody film that drops so many F-bombs it's not even funny. But it is good and there is a sense of humor there, even if some of it is rather bleak.
review by . April 11, 2009
The story is set in Boston's brutal underworld, where Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is the all-powerful crime boss. He has mentored a young man (Matt Damon) through the police academy and now he's both a State Trooper and a member of the mob, while the Staties have their own man (Leonardo DiCaprio) working inside Costello's organization.     This movie is not for the squeamish; there are almost non-stop bloody killings and barely a line of dialogue that is isn't full of profanities. …
review by . June 08, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Witty, gritty, thrilling... the best gangster film I've seen in years.      Cons: A bit of a Deus ex machina ending, some predictable moments...negligable really.     The Bottom Line: Without a doubt the best Gangster flick I've seen in ages.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. Years ago we had the …
review by . April 28, 2007
Having heard so many good things about this film, I had to see it for myself. I won't give a plot summary of the film, as it has been done to death, instead I'll let you know the highs and lows for me.      There are a lot of great quotes and lines throughout the movie. One of the first is the one I used as a title for this review, meaning "I will not serve" by James Joyce, from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Another is "The Irish are the only …
review by . March 21, 2007
It's no secret that "The Departed" is a remake of the successful Hong Kong movie. I've watched it several months ago and was very impressed. After watching "The Departed", I realized that I wanted watch it again. It is a completely new movie, spiritually. The affiliation in the screenplay to the original one is unavoidable, but Martin Scorsese did a great job in substantiating the cop and criminal story with his own interpretation.    This is probably different from other Martin …
review by . March 10, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Jack Nicholson playing the gangster     Cons: Robert De Niro not playing the gangster     The Bottom Line: It's been too long since the last gangster flick of this caliber.     Forget everything you ever knew about Martin Scorsese’s gangster movies right now. Just forget everything. Forget New York City, and forget about Robert De Niro too. Forget about all the droning voice-over narrations, the working class trench gangsters, …
review by . March 02, 2007
Cursed are those unfortunate souls who decide to experience the original version of something before experiencing the remake, be it an adaptation of a novel or, in the case of Martin Scorsese's THE DEPARTED, a remake of a previous masterpiece. That masterpiece was 2002's MOU GAAN DOU, or INFERNAL AFFAIRS, directed by Lau Wai Keung and Mak Siu Fai. The premise of the two films is the same, but the styles of the respective films are vastly different. I am one of the unfortunate souls who watched INFERNAL …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #77
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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Martin Scorsese makes a welcome return to the mean streets (of Boston, in this case) withThe Departed, hailed by many as Scorsese's best film sinceCasino. Since this crackling crime thriller is essentially a Scorsese-stamped remake of the acclaimed 2002 Hong Kong thrillerInfernal Affairs, the film was intensely scrutinized by devoted critics and cinephiles, and while Scorsese's intense filmmaking and all-star cast deserve ample acclaim,The Departedis also worthy of serious re-assessment, especially with regard to what some attentive viewers described as sloppy craftsmanship (!), notably in terms of mismatched shots and jagged continuity. But no matter where you fall on the Scorsese appreciation scale, there's no denying thatThe Departedis a signature piece of work from one of America's finest directors, designed for maximum impact with a breathtaking series of twists, turns, and violent surprises. It's an intricate cat-and-mouse game, but this time the cat and mouse are both moles: Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is an ambitious cop on the rise, planted in the Boston police force by criminal kingpin Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a hot-tempered police cadet who's been artificially disgraced and then planted into Costello's crime operation as a seemingly trustworthy soldier. As the multilayered plot unfolds (courtesy of a scorching adaptation by Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter William Monahan), Costigan and ...
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