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Review: The Departed

10.05.2006

THE DEPARTED

Review Date: Oct. 3, 2006
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: W. Monahan, Siu Fai Mak, F. Chong
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio
Matt Damon
Jack Nicholson
Genre: Crime, Drama

Set in South Boston, the Massachusetts State police are trying to take down the Irish Mafia. Two rookie cops join the department. One’s an informant for the mob and the other one goes undercover to infiltrate it. Once they’ve learned that their identities might be compromised, the film quickly turns into a game of cat and mouse as they try to discover who the mole is.

I don’t even know where to start! I’ll just come out and say it, this is one of Scorsese’s best films and it’s really right up there next to GOODFELLAS. This was a masterpiece of filmmaking! The acting, the characters, the settings, the plot twists, the violence and the story, everything just melted together perfectly. There are so many characters, each with an amazing side story to tell and in the end, it all comes together.

DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, the undercover cop trying to infiltrate the Irish Mob. This kid just keeps getting better and better with each new film. His character’s determination to stay undercover is the only reason he can conceal his fear and survive in the barbaric underworld that he is living in. You really get a sense of the fragile emotional state he is experiencing, while on the surface you see him as a ruthless thug. Great stuff! Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, the other cop who is an informant for the mob. Damon definitely brought his “A” game! It’s amazing to see the dichotomy between these two main characters and how they deal with the exact same stress but with completely opposite issues.

Jack Nicholson plays Irish gang leader Frank Costello. One word…WOW! I really dig seeing Nicholson not being Nicholson, he totally owned this character with his ruthlessness and charismatic demeanor. I can go on about each of the other supporting characters, but there are just too many to talk about and they all bring something to the table. Like I said earlier, they all have a unique story to tell.

The fine line of loyalty and betrayal was viewed on so many different levels. The film explored this from both of the main characters’ points of view and how the importance and impact of loyalty and betrayal mean the same thing no matter where you’re from. You know how they say a picture is worth a thousands words? Scorsese does this with his characters, he gives you just a few seconds of a scene and you know everything you need to know about that person. That’s story telling! You’re basically sitting at the edge of your seat the whole time.

The momentum of the movie is excellent. It’s like watching a snowball getting bigger and bigger and you’re getting excited just to see how big it’s going to get. I really appreciated that they didn’t give us a whole police academy training sequence but they do provide us with some fun facts (I always wanted to know how a bullet penetrates the skull). Then it went right into the meat and potatoes. We get the typical “Scorsese Violent Treatment”, which I think we can all appreciate. I think the special effects guys really nailed this one. Love those headshots! And...we get plenty of action and great shootouts to boot! The soundtracks in all of Scorsese’s movies are amazing and this movie is no exception! The excellent use of "Gimme Shelter" and "Comfortably Numb" enhanced the scenes to perfection.

I can’t really think of anything negative to say about this movie. This is the type of film where it doesn’t matter if you’re a Scorsese fan or not, it works on so many levels that anybody can appreciate this opus! If there ever was a year where a film truly deserves an Oscar(s), this is the one! If I had three thumbs, they would all be up!

-- by Tim Goernert (who am I?)

Source: JoBlo.com

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