The Departed (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/10/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 153 mins

Superbly written and brilliantly acted, this is a return to form for Scorsese – if this doesn't get him the Best Director Oscar, nothing will.

What's it all about?
Matt Damon stars as Colin Sullivan, a South Boston native groomed by local crime boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), who encourages him to become a police detective whilst still working undercover for the mob. Meanwhile, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is pulled out of the Police Academy by Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and encouraged to infiltrate Frank's operation by doing jail time.

After a brilliantly assembled introduction sequence, the story kicks off with William joining Frank's mob. However, both sides know there's a mole in the ranks, so both men desperately try to flush each other out.

The Good
As remakes go, The Departed sticks very closely to the 2002 Hong Kong classic, except for an appallingly judged final minute which almost ruins the entire film. The final shot, in particular, is astonishingly bad.

That said, Scorsese gets everything else right. The casting of Damon and DiCaprio was inspired – they even look like each other, which adds an intriguing dimension to their already identical situations. Damon is superb, but DiCaprio has the flashier part and he really makes it his own.

The Great
Scorsese has assembled a mouthwatering supporting cast that includes Sheen, Nicholson (on top scenery-chewing form), Mark Wahlberg (as Sheen's colleague), Alec Baldwin (as Damon's motormouth boss), Ray Winstone (as Costello's deputy) and Vera Farmiga, who's terrific as the police shrink who has a relationship with both men. The dialogue is excellent too, with Wahlberg, Baldwin and Nicholson nabbing all the juiciest lines.

This being a Scorsese film, there's also a stunning soundtrack and moments of shocking violence – be advised that the 18 certificate is well deserved. In addition, the Boston location work adds an extra layer of authenticity to the film.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is Scorsese's best film for a very long time. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Departed (18)
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Content updated: 23/04/2019 03:52

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