The Departed

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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
I figure those who don't check my reviews, can talk about the film here.

Here is my review again.


Billy Costigan is an undercover cop who gets thrown into the hands of a notorious gangster, Frank Costello. Colin Sullivan is a member of Costello's gang who is a mole in the Boston police department. Once word gets out that there is a mole in the police department and a rat in Costello's gang, things begin to heat up as they try and smoke out the other.

Infernal Affairs blew me away a couple years ago, then I heard that one of my favourite directors was doing a remake. I was a little hesitant at first, I didn't know if I was going to see old Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino) or the recent Scorsese (Gangs Of New York, The Aviator). Granted the films under his belt as of late are not horrible, in fact they're great, they just don't have that old school touch that made Scorsese such a great director. With The Departed Scorsese is back to his old form and gives us the best film of 2006.

The Departed is full of old school tricks from Scorsese. From an Iris Out and that classic Goodfellas feel, it makes for an intense thrill ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. With the crop of films this year not being all that great (save for a select few), The Departed blows them all out of the water. It's brutal with it's violence and doesn't hold back on anything.

DiCaprio and Damon both shine in their roles, with DiCaprio having the more intense part and more screen time. I only favour DiCaprio a tad more because the scenes with Damon and Farmiga are a tad boring to watch. It was a joy to watch both of these characters slowly lose their minds being on both sides of the fence. Although they both shine in this film, they can't touch the great Nicholson. He is absolutely astonishing. He owns every scene he is in, even when he starts acting like a rat. He has this evil presence about him in this film, but he plays it with such a comedic tone, you can't hate the guy, but you can fear him. After seeing how great he is in this film I'm left wondering why Scorsese and Nicholson haven't worked together before now.

Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Vera Farmiga and even Anthony Anderson all blend well together to bring the cast of The Departed full circle. Wahlberg stands out in this list, he is just as mean and foul mouthed as Nicholson and can actually hold his own with such a prominent actor as Sheen sitting right beside him. Alec Baldwin is a joy to watch as he spits out his comedic lines left right and centre and Martin Sheen brings the missing piece that fits the thrilling puzzle that is The Departed.

There are numerous violent scenes that scream Goodfellas or Casino and it's nice to get that old feeling back. The film is gritty, brutal and violent and doesn't let you sit there and feel comfortable with any of it. People are getting shot left right and centre, beaten to death, hit numerous times with coat racks, beaten with shoes, stabbed, thrown out of buildings. The blood splashes all over the screen and with people getting shot in the face everywhere, you feel the uneasiness that Scorsese wanted. It's not as brutal as the one infamous baseball bat scene in Casino, but it ranks up there.

The film does tend to drag on in certain areas, but that's expected. With it's fast story telling pace, Scorsese slows it down a bit so we can get to know more about who these two characters are. He keeps us on the edge of our seats wondering if their cover is going to be blown cause it can be blown at any point in time. Even after watching Infernal Affairs I was still tense, wondering what was going to happen next. That is the work of a great director.

The Departed will get recognized by the Academy, but I doubt it will win anything. Scorsese is after 0/5 in that race. One can only hope though, cause he deserves it so much. This film, although definitely not his best (I don't think anything he does will surpass Goodfellas) packs one hell of a bloody punch. It has strong performances and a dark comedic tone that will have you laughing along with it. In the hands of any other director, it could have been a mess. Thank you Mr. Scorsese, for letting me have fun at the movies again.

"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

saw this movie and i loved it. i like the cast and love the story. ill rate this movie with a 8/10.

This movie was tremendous. Scorsese's best crime film, in my opinion. I give it a 10/10.

And nice review, UsualSuspect. I'm also hoping Scorsese wins Best Director at the Academy.
The first rule of F**** C*** is... you do not talk about F**** C***.

You won't find a bigger Scorsese fan than me, but you guys are delusional about his Oscar chances this year. I will bet you a LOT of money against that prediction. Scorsese won't even get nominated, much less win. It's a good movie, I like it, but it's simply not the kind of piece that gets Oscar nods. It may have an extreme outside shot to sneak in with an acting nomination for somebody like Baldwin or Nicholson in the supporting category, but I'd give lesser-known directorial names like Richard Linklater (Fast Food Nation), Todd Field (Little Children), Alejandro Iñárritu (Babel), Tom Tykwer (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) and John Curran (The Painted Veil) all much better odds for a nomination. Much better. Not to mention the true early-season favorites like Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers & Letters from Iwo Jima), Steven Soderbergh (The Good German), Pedro Almodóvar (Volver) and Oliver Stone (World Trade Center).

So I'll wager a good chunk of change Marty won't get a nomination for The Departed, and a HELL of a lot of money that he will not win.

But I'm glad you guys enjoyed it.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

I thought this movie was fantastic, but like Holden said, this is the kind of thing that the academy has stayed away from as of late.

Why they stay away from it, I'm not sure, but that's what they do.

To bring the discussion that started in another thread to a more appropriate place....

Originally Posted by Sleezy
To chime in on this, the ending bothered me a little too -- not that it was a Shakespearean ending, but that it didn't seem to agree with the sense of reality that permeated the film's first and second acts. I felt like much of The Departed was believable (or at least semi-realistic), particularly the attitudes and motives of the characters. But toward the end, the film started to venture out of reality and into Greek tragedy. Of these two treatments, I very much preferred the former. I like Greek tragedies, but I didn't think Scorsese's The Departed needed to be one, no matter the source material.

See, I disagree. I don't think the depiction of the criminals and crooks in The Departed is all that "realistic" to begin with. It's a movie about movie cops and crooks, and in that the mythical ending fits in perfectly with the body of the film. Unlike GoodFellas where you get a distinct feel for what a mid-level gangster does day-to-day to earn his nut, in The Departed other than the stealing of a shipment of tech-widget MacGuffins that drives a portion of the plot along (a robbery that we don't even see, just the murderous fall-out of the stooge who done it - and even then not even a murder we witness), there is no sense to what Costello and his crew really do all day. Only as it relates narrowly to the plot. Which isn't realistic at all, it's a movie "idea" of bad guys.

On the cop side, too, other than a little bit of the minutae of the surveillance itself (though even that is covered in very broad strokes), there's no procedural detail about being Police Officers. Again it's trading on the movie idea of cops and undercover assignments, taking for granted you've seen a thousand hours of television and other movies that have gone into the detail.

The movie doesn't work in spite of this, but because of it. It is a genre piece. A good one, but don't pretend it's got some documentary-like insight on either side of the story. It doesn't. Accordingly the bloody crescendo of the ending, though at a different pace than the rest of the narrative, is likewise not really concerned with the "reality" of what goes on so much as it is the movie myth of cops and crooks.

That's why I don't have any issues at all with the ending, as is. I think it works and gels perfectly with the rest of the flick. Which makes it all different and definitely less ambitious and realistic than GoodFellas or Casino, but still a fun and effective movie.

Your mileage may vary.

I've been wondering something, and maybe you would know, Holden.

What was in the box that Costello gave to Sullivan near the begining when he officialy became a cop?

Money, for completing the task of making it through the academy and being well on his way to becoming the top-flight mole they hoped he would be. It's a reward, payment for doing his job (his real job).

But that's a perfect example of the lack of realism I'm talking about. There's no way an actual criminal boss who's face is well-known around town would drive up to the ceremony and bestow a gift on a recent graduate. The whole point is to have somebody on the inside who is above suspicion, so what kind of moron takes a chance on blowing it the first day?!? It ain't realistic. At all. BUT, as a scene in a genre piece, it's fine, says what it has to say about their relationship, and you move on. But realistic? Nope. A real Costello wouldn't be within twenty miles of that kid that day.

Originally Posted by BobbyB
Ok, so where would you rank this in terms of Scorsese's best movies?
I've gone over that in the Scorsese thread, HERE. I updated my list on the first page where I grade and rank his films. I gave The Departed a B+ and slotted it in the sixteenth spot among the twenty-three features.

Wow. I'm surprised that you would put the Departed below Gangs of New York. I thought The Departed was very good. In Scorsese's top half of movies he's made atleast, IMO.

A system of cells interlinked
The Departed is fantastic, but when set along side stuff like Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, it does fall a bit under them. I also sort of agree that Marty hasn't made a bad film yet (I still have yet to see Boxcar Bertha, The Last Waltz, and New York, New York), so ranking them is sort of like ranking Mozart symphonies. It's a list, and some stuff ends up near the bottom, but it's all good... Perusing Holden's list, I think I would rank them almost the same, but I might slide Bringing Out the Dead down to number 17...

Not a Gangs fan Bobby?
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

It's not that, I just felt The Departed was much better.

I am not a GoodFellas fan, however, so I think The Departed is better than that one.

Originally Posted by BobbyB
Wow. I'm surprised that you would put the Departed below Gangs of New York. I thought The Departed was very good. In Scorsese's top half of movies he's made atleast, IMO.

The Gangs of New York I thought was too long, and depressing. The Departed I loved. And the ending even though I didnt like it going that way with one character, loved it cause it so caught me off guard there.

Anyone know what was in the brown package Dicaprio gave to the doc?

The Departed is by far one of the best films of 2006 and a return to the mean streets Scorsese pioneered. This film like so many of Scorsese's gritty classics of the past such as Raging Bull and Goodfellas succeeds in creating the Everyman's Hell. He spins a brutal and unforgiving fairy tale of anger, confusion, fear, and self loathing, and even if the "good guy" comes out on top, he is still going to find himself drowning in misery. While we may not find common ground with the situations characters in The Departed find themselves in, a lot of us carry the same attitudes on display in the film.

Jack Nicholson is in top form and I believe a best supporting actor nod is in his future. His villian is cool, calm, and slick, but he is an aged evil and watching him come to terms with that is mindblowing. At the core The Departed is about discovering your own nature and accepting the fate that will eventually come with that.

Scorsese pushes all the characters past the point of no return. None of them can change what they have become, and now they must desparately search for an escape. This film is consumed by an overwhelming sense of paranoia, self realization, desperation and fear.

Almost every character in the film pretends to be something they are not, and will go to any lengths to protect whatever visage they have created through their respective deceptions. Some have delusions of grandeur. Some see all they built falling apart. All of them just want to exist, in a world where it becomes impossible for that to happen.

In the Beginning...
Originally Posted by Holden Pike
The movie doesn't work in spite of this, but because of it. It is a genre piece. A good one, but don't pretend it's got some documentary-like insight on either side of the story. It doesn't. Accordingly the bloody crescendo of the ending, though at a different pace than the rest of the narrative, is likewise not really concerned with the "reality" of what goes on so much as it is the movie myth of cops and crooks.
Eh, I see where you're coming from, but I wouldn't say that lack of information (about the crooks' day-to-days, about police procedure, etc.) entirely denotes a lack of realism. Perhaps I didn't specify clearly what I meant by "realistic." Sure, it's a gangster movie about cops and robbers, and we've all seen plenty of those. And yes, there was no sense of "documentary" to the film at all. But in spite of the good, old-fashioned mobster treatment, I found realism in the speech, emotions, and behavior of the characters. Consider these scenes...

WARNING: "The Departed" spoilers below
1. Costigan's therapy session with Madolyn

2. The moment when Sullivan, after having directed the set-up attempt to get Costigan that went awry, turns off his walkie-talkie and just sits there

3. Costello's conversation with Costigan in the bar, toward the end of the film

For me, those scenes -- particularly the performances therein -- brought the film down to a human level I could relate to, where even movie mob bosses and undercover rats have real motivations, insecurities, naiveties, and breaking points. The scene with Sullivan, I thought, was particularly designed to bring his character down a little, because...

WARNING: "The Departed" spoilers below that scene, he didn't seem like such the sniveling inside villain. He really seemed like a kid who had grown up under the wing of a personality like Costello, believing that he could just about manipulate anyone and anything... without ever having to face the real kinds of things (like people dying) such manipulation and backstabbery on his part can cause.

I mean, I've seen lots of mobster movies before -- good and bad -- and I guess with this one, I just took for granted the kinds of time-tested genre things the film was doing that Scorsese knows so well; and instead latched pretty hard onto the internal character things that Scorsese and the actors were bringing out. That's the "realism" I was talking about.

And in that respect, I feel like the ending just doesn't do the film justice. Scorsese had a lot of really nice cat-and-mouse tension going, marinated with a strong sense of emotional investment among the main characters so that they felt like real people (and never Greek archetypes, really), and I cared about them. And then the ending comes along, and it's like everything about the film up to this point has been taken for granted, and now the only star of the film is this genre mobster-movie itself.

I'm not one who prefers bloody finales, particularly when they're quite clearly designed to "shock" the viewer with such abrupt, disturbing violence after a pretty solid two-hour absence of it. Make no mistake, I'm equally not opposed to characters getting killed, either -- so long as the writer chooses to kill characters for the benefit of the story, and not just for the sake of getting to write a bunch of violence. So yes, I thought the end was gratuitous, and didn't follow naturally from the story. I might have been alright with the bloody finish if it hadn't been so damned silly...

WARNING: "The Departed" spoilers below
I mean, come on... in the span of what, two days film time (three minutes real time?), we see the two main characters -- plus two other characters that hardly had anything to do with the film until the very end, when they were suddenly ALL IMPORTANT -- bite it, all in the exact, "surprise-shot-perfectly-in-the-head!" way? Please. That's a cartoon.

But my biggest beef with the ending was...

WARNING: "The Departed" spoilers below
...the sudden "surprise revelation" that, all this time, the lackey friend has been a mole for Costello too, which pretty much capitulates the whole stupid bloody ending. Scorsese placed all this emphasis on each side's respective attention to recognizing and rooting out rats, and he expects me to believe that this guy flew by completely unnoticed? No way. That character's whole purpose was to be there at the end to blow Costigan's head off, when there was no prior suggestion whatsoever that such a contingency was even possible. That's just cheap, lazy writing that shows no respect for character value or audience intelligence. We've all seen -- and rolled our eyes at -- the same kind of thing before. I don't know, maybe the writer was trying to say that everyone gets what is coming to them in the end, which isn't a bad sentiment -- but he could have done that a lot better than he did.

Originally Posted by Holden Pike
That's why I don't have any issues at all with the ending, as is. I think it works and gels perfectly with the rest of the flick. Which makes it all different and definitely less ambitious and realistic than GoodFellas or Casino, but still a fun and effective movie.
Yeah, I agree. Fun movie, not all that ambitious or innovative. I enjoyed the cat-and-mouse stuff, and the internal character stuff; more so. Very well-written, and nicely performed. I just didn't like the finale, when all that stuff seemed to take a backseat to the mindless spray of brain matter (pun intended).

Wow. Just wow.. and a good wow. Last night I finally went to see The Departed. I say "finally" because I've been dying to see it for weeks now. Typically when I get my hopes up this high for a movie, I end up being disappointed. Last night was different. As I sat in a run-down movie theater with about 80 other college students (on what is typically a HUGE bar night) I saw what is perhaps one of the best movies i have ever seen.

Let's start with the acting... it was incredible. I honestly had low expectations for Leonardo DiCaprio because, in my mind, after Romeo & Juliet and Titanic, I could never get the pretty boy image out of my head... until last night. He was incredible. From his depressed eyes to his witty comments, Leo stole the movie. But that's not to take anything away from Matt Damon who was an amazing counterpart and the brilliant Jack Nicholson in what was truly a great performance of a Irish mafia leader, one that even DiNero couldn't have done better...

i think what shocked me most about this film was that it was funny, i mean sure i expected some amusing lines, but The Departed was actually FUNNY... like laugh out loud funny... to make a film that has you on the edge of your seat yet also has you laughing out loud... now thats impressive... the story line was great, it didn't bore me for a second and for a 149 minute movie thats says something about the movie... basically I'm telling you to go see the movie... now. The Departed will absolutely blow your mind it's so good... i would recommend it to anyone... guys and girls of all ages and even people who typically don't like bloody movies (like me!) because it's THAT good...

If The Departed doesn't win an Oscar, I'm boycotting the show.

A system of cells interlinked
An Oscar for what? It MIGHT get a best supporting actor statue, but I wouldn't count on it getting much else... Just not the type of film those Academy chumps like to hand out big awards to...