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 firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
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.