003797Reviews & Counting
The Departed (SE)
DVD disk
02.28.2007 By: Quigles
The Departed (SE) order
Martin Scorsese

Leonardo DiCaprio
Matt Damon
Jack Nicholson


star Printer-Friendly version
In an attempt to nab mob boss Frank Costello, a young undercover cop named Billy Costigan gains his and his crew's trust. Meanwhile, Colin Sullivan, a guy from Costello's crew, works his way into a place of power in the police department.
It's nice to see the Academy honor and respect a movie involving crime, lies, deception, mucho gunshots to the head, Marky Mark telling people to go f*ck themselves, and Jack "all work and no play" Nicholson randomly whipping out a black dildo, and even having himself a nice little coke party with some hookers. Yesiree, and this fun film took home the statuettes for Best Pic, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing... and of course, this recognition is all thanks to our main man, Martin Scorsese. Did he really deserve the Oscar this time? Maybe not (I'd have preferred Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuarón... too bad they weren't nominated), but after being screwed over a total of five times by the Academy, it's awesome that he finally got his due. Plus, I'm glad he got it for a movie as absolutely badass as THE DEPARTED instead of his past couple efforts, like THE AVIATOR (good flick, but not a highlight of his work) or GANGS OF NEW YORK (which I personally thought was pretty lousy).

As many of you know, this movie is a remake of the cool Hong Kong pic INFERNAL AFFAIRS. I actually saw AFFAIRS prior to seeing THE DEPARTED, which is the main reason I was so hesitant during the film's theatrical release. I mean, AFFAIRS was amazing; how the hell could THE DEPARTED compare, even if it was being helmed by one of the best directors working today? Well, as the fates would have it, not only does it compare, it actually excels. That's right, I'm flat-out saying that the remake is better than the original (remember, all you foreign movie buffs can send your hate mail to [email protected]). It takes all the elements that made the original great (complex characters, intricate plot, solid acting, gritty/stylized direction), improves upon them, and even adds in a few of its own ingredients (the comical moments are a riot - Whalberg rules!).

Most films get their plot into full swing within the first ten minutes, but it's not until 20 minutes in that THE DEPARTED even shows its title screen. Luckily, this is the type of movie that earns the right to take its sweet time. Alongside its technical merits behind the camera, the actors in front of the camera do just as amazing of a job. DiCaprio especially shines in the forerunning role, expressing an astounding amount of emotion even when saying nothing at all (where the hell was this guy's Oscar nomination?). Also impressing are the always-great Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, playing their own versions of "the likable bad guy." And despite some of the criticisms from both fans and reviewers, I though Vera Farmiga (the smokin' hot wife from RUNNING SCARED) was perfect as the love interest. Filling out the cast are Mark Whalberg, Martin Sheen, and Alec Baldwin, all of whom own their somewhat limited screen time to full effect. This certainly is a powerful ensemble piece, and it's only a portion of what makes THE DEPARTED just so damn compelling and entertaining to watch.
The regular 2-Disc Special Edition is nice and all, but if you're as much of a packaging nut as I am, you're gonna wanna pick up the exclusive Limited Edition with the exclusive steel case and collectible poster artwork. You can get it at Best Buy, and apparently some other store called Future Shop. Basically, it's the same thing as the Special Edition, only a helluva lot cooler. My rating for the DVD, however, strictly applies to the regular 2-Disc. Even though it's not bursting with special features, the quality of the ones at hand are very high. The only thing truly missing is a commentary, which sucks because this is the type of film that could really use one.

Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and the Departed (21:06): This cool featurette goes into detail (partially through interviews with the cast/crew) about the Boston mob's rich history, and some of the more prominent people that were a part of it. It also explains the real-life influences that affected the movie and its characters.

Scorsese on Scorsese (1:25:42): From Turner Classic Films, this excellent and in-depth documentary is perfect for anybody who has any interest in the acclaimed director. Scorsese discusses his home life, how it affected his films, and, of course, he also divulges plenty of information regarding his various film work. Unfortunately, this was made back in 2004, so THE DEPARTED is not covered.

Crossing Criminal Cultures (24:02): This featurette (which is a lot like "Stranger Than Fiction," above) revolves around the relation between THE DEPARTED and some of Scorsese's other crime films, as well as the differences between the mob elements. Very interesting stuff.

Additional Scenes (19:23 - with introductions by Martin Scorsese): There are nine deleted and extended scenes, all of which met the chopping block for apparent reasons. Scorsese is informative in his comments, and even though the scenes weren't good enough to be in the final film, they're still worth a look.

Also included is the film's Theatrical Trailer.
If you're a fan of Martin Scorsese and blood-splattered crime flicks, it doesn't get much better than THE DEPARTED. This is the kind of film movie buffs like myself have wet dreams about (minus the excessive nudity - drats!). It's got a great cast, an excellent story, a genius director, a terrific script, and an absolutely perfect surprise ending (although that last one's debatable - I know plenty of others who would argue the exact opposite). Next to CHILDREN OF MEN, THE DEPARTED is easily my favorite movie of the year. Only time will tell if it becomes one of my favorites of all-time.
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