Movie Review: “The Departed”

By Matt Donato
October 13, 2006

“Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver” and “Cape Fear” lend just a glimpse at the dent that Martin Scorsese has left on the movie world. The list could very well go on, but as I talk about his already swollen resume he has struck again with a new masterpiece.

“The Departed” is a good cop, bad cop crime drama that is as funny as it is brutally violent, starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg. It is reinvented from a Hong Kong film, “Infernal Affairs,” but screenwriter William Monahan, who also wrote “Kingdom of Heaven,” put his own twist on the script.

Set in Boston. Nicholson is a mob boss. DiCaprio and Damon play two cops facing off against each other. Wahlberg is the police muscle protecting one of them while, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin play two police captains who have an undeniable loyalty to the force.

Damon is Colin Sullivan, a lonely child that at a young age fell in with known Irish mob boss, Frank Costello (Nicholson). Sullivan grows, enters the police academy and rises quickly to become a detective for the Massachusetts State Police, “Staties” as referred to in the movie, and also a snitch for Costello. Unbeknownst to him, William Costigan (DiCaprio) was also training at the academy. Costigan, a bad seed with an even worse family, is seen as a valuable asset to the police. With his reckless past, he is seen as a way into Costello’s tight knit crew. Through a series of corrupt police acts, he manages to weasel his way in among Costello’s men and acts as the police’s eyes and ears. Amid this mayhem, there is a beautiful psychiatrist, Vera Farmiga, who becomes torn between the two young officers, Sullivan and Costigan.

A beating here, the F-bomb there, “The Departed” is one of the best films of the year. It will have you cringing and laughing in the same scene. It’s everything you could possibly want in a movie: blood, beatings, guns, clever dialogue, explosions, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Thank you Martin Scorsese.

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Matt Donato

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