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The Departed

2006 crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese

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Dearly Departed

  • Feb 17, 2007
Here we go again. In the history of film making, there are few directors that have been praised as much as Martin Scoresese. By that same token, it's kind of strange to see a man make so many classic movies like "Taxi Driver," "Goodfellas," and "Raging Bull" never win an Academy Award of any kind. I thought for sure "The Aviator" would be the movie where Scoresese would finally get awarded the Oscar he deserved, yet the A.M.P.S.A. felt differently, and awarded the Oscar to Clint Eastwood and his boxing movie "Million Dollar Baby." Now Scoresese has brought us "The Departed," to prove to us once again why he's one of the few directors to get his name above the title of the movies he directs. "The Departed" revolves around a crime lord by the name of Frank Costello. Costello is a smooth talking, chain smoking, terrifying villain. One of the worst I've ever seen in a movie.

He kills without hesitation, tortures without batting an eye, and actually finds humor in his methods of madness (after killina woman in cold blood he jokes "Huh? She fell funny"). In seducing a young boy to join his gang, Costello says "When I was your age, they would say you could either become cops or criminals. What I'm saying is this: When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?" The boy he gives this scary bit of advice is named Colin Sullivan, who grows up to become one of the more important cops in the police department, but is really a mole for Costello, who he shares confidential information with. On the other end of the spectrum is Billy Costigan, who was training to be a cop, but flunked out of the academy. However, the police department feels he can still be of use to them, so they convince him to fake a crime, get thrown in prison, and be released a year later to become a spy on Costello for them.

The plan works, and a year and a half later, Costigan is in Costello's gang, making deals and beating up store owners who are late on their payment. Soon though, Costello suspects that there is a "rat" in his gang, and calls Sullivan with an order to find the rat. Likewise, the police suspect that is an informant leaking Costello information about the police department as well, and Costigan is ordered to discover the identity of this person too. Both men share information with everyone in many different ways, but the most intriguing device they use is the cell phone. With calling, text messaging, and voice recordings, the cell phone becomes a story device quite unlike anything else in this movie. Cell phones are normally used as gimmicks in movies, normally being degraded to simple things like ringing while someone is trying to hide from the bad guy. In this movie, the cell phone becomes an essential part of the story telling.

It's used in so many unique and interesting ways, that if you took it out I don't think you would have a movie anymore. At the very least, you wouldn't have one that is half as interesting as this one. But the cell phone is not the only thing that makes this movie good. What also makes the movie work are the excellent performances from all the principle actors. Jack Nicholson proves once again why he's a living legend on the screen, Matt Damon shows that he is a very underrated actor, and Leonardo DiCaprio steps up to the plate to reenforce the notion that he is the next Robert DeNiro. In fact, looking at the past three to five films DeCaprio has made including this one, I think it's safe to say that DeCaprio has come a long way from being the icon of many a teenage girls dream several years ago. It's Jack Nicholson who takes up most of the screen time though, and is fascinating to watch from beginning to end.

Playing a character that is a perfect vision of what true evil is, I think Jack Nicholson will be up for another Oscar nomination come January (Editor's Note: I was wrong on this one). In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that while this film won't win any major prize, I would confidentially expect this film to get a Best Picture nomination for sure. Sadly, it will not win for two reasons. The first reason is that this is a Martin Scoresese picture, and none of his movies have won Best Picture despite their quality. The second reason is that despite the quality of this film, "United 93" is still a better movie, and five months later people are still talking about it, and I do believe that "United 93" will win the top prize (Editor's Note: Wrong again). For it's subject matter if nothing else.

Still, at the end of the day "The Departed" is still a great movie with great writing, acting, and tension. It's smart, it keeps you at the edge of your feet, and there are several moments where you don't know where the movie is going, and you will be shocked at where it does go sometimes. I must admit that the amount of foul language in this movie is a bit bothersome, but seeing as how the movie is about a crime syndicate, it's (sadly) unsurprising. If movies with the use of a ton of F words bothers you, then you should just not watch this movie at all. Also the movie is extremely violent, so keep that into consideration also. But if you can stomach this, then by all means enjoy "The Departed," one of the best films of the year.

Rating: **** and a half stars

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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 . November 11, 2007
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 …
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, …
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Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Ranked #57
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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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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