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The Departed

My review:

Martin Scorcese finally snagged a Best Director Oscar for The Departed and though there are some (myself included) who do not feel this was his best work, the film is more than worthy of the Director Oscar it finally nailed for Scorcese as well as the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year that it also received.

This exquisitely mounted epic tale looks at the war between the police and the mob in South Boston, supposedly during the 70's and 80's, centering primarily on three characters. Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio)is a young cop with a shady family legacy, who is sent deep undercover to get the goods on renowned Boston mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson).

Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, a young man who grew up working for Costello,a la Ray Liotta's character in Goodfellas, but also becomes a police officer. A two-way cat and mouse game ensues as Costello tries to learn which member of his organization is a cop while the police try to figure out which one of their officers is a stooge to Costello. The race to learn which rat is where advances to the point where Sullivan is actually assigned to, in so many words, rat out himself.

Scorcese offers one of the greatest examples I have seen in years of storytelling on screen with a meticulous and detailed screenplay that requires complete attention, not to mention multiple viewings to fully appreciated the multi-layered story presented here. Scorcese's direction is crisp and in-your-face, as always, and surprises are offered around every corner of the story told here. Every time you think you've figure it out, the story takes another detour and if you miss anything, you will be confused.

DiCaprio offers the best performance of his career as the tortured Costigan and he might have won the Oscar if he had been nominated for this instead of Blood Diamond. Matt Damon's richly complex portrayal of Collin Sullivan hits the bullseye as does Nicholson's expectedly ruthless mafioso. Mark Wahlberg received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his razor sharp performance as DiCaprio and Damon's 2nd commanding officer who allows matters to get personal. Alec Baldwin, Martin, Sheen, Ray Winstone, and Anthony Anderson also register in strong supporting roles, but it is primarily the compelling story, masterful direction by Scorcese and the three electrifying lead performances that make this film an instant classic not to be missed. 8/10