When I went to see The Departed this past weekend, I was worried that I would be let down. I was worried that I just wouldn’t get it. Or that the critics were just way out there and that I would just flat out not like it. My initial reaction at the end of the film was, “Wow! That was the greatest movie I have seen in years!” Upon further reflection, my reaction remains the same. If you have not seen this film, make it a point to do so. I have been impressed with some action movies as of late, but the dramas and Oscar contenders have not been there. This is the second movie that I have seen this year that I think should be nominated for Best Picture, among many other nominations. They only other movie that I have felt remotely close to this with was Jason Reitman’s satire, Thank You For Smoking.
The Departed was a nice, fresh mobster film from genre vet Martin Scorsese. I enjoyed his bio picture, The Aviator, last year, but it was not this good. After Bringing Out the Dead, I was not sure that Scorsese would ever be the same. Then came Gangs of New York, it was a good movie, but not this good. Two years ago, Scorsese was out-directed by Academy Award winner, now two-time winner, Clint Eastwood. I have to say, this year, Martin Scorsese has set the bar awfully high for Mr. Eastwood.
After thinking about this movie, I found no faults with it. With such a large and diverse cast, I would have thought that someone would have stood out as the bad apple. Not the case here. Each actor was superb. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a phenomenal performance as Billy Costigan. He is a Boston Police Recruit that is set-up to be kicked out and then go undercover as a rat in Costello’s mob. Leo should earn his third Oscar nod this year. Jack Nicholson portrays Frank Costello. He is the take-no-prisoners mob leader. Look for a nomination here for Jack this year making it his thirteenth. Matt Damon plays Boston State Police Detective Colin Sullivan. He is the police leak to Frank. Matt could be looking at his first nomination since Good Will Hunting. Other actors not be overlooked are Alec Baldwin as the leader of the Organized Crime Unit, Martin Sheen as the Police Chief and one of two people who know the true identity of Billy Costigan, and Mark Wahlberg as the other who knows the identity. He is a quick-witted, smart-mouthed police officer. Each of these performances along with the rest of the cast, were exceptional.
The story centers on the Boston police trying to take down the organized crime leader Frank Costello. They have a whole division set up to concentrate on this. Sullivan infiltrates this police organization and helps keep Frank one step ahead of the police. On the other side of things, the police have Billy Costigan infiltrate Frank’s mob and keep the cops in step with Costello. Both sides of the law are then faced with trying to smoke out the rat in their organization. Each side is aware of the leak, and both sides try and plug it. They race to see who can find the leak and shut the other one down. People are caught in the crossfire both figuratively and literally with both sides taking casualties. Both rats are battling with hiding their true identities as the other side gets closer and the leaders narrow the search. Loyalty is tested. Time is tested.
A friend asked me, who hasn’t seen the movie, if it is like The Godfather where you are pulling for the bad guy. In this movie, you can chose which character you pull for. I think that most people are going to be pulling for Leonardo.
For the whole two hours and twenty odd minutes, we are treated to a violent, brutal, gritty portrayal of cops and robbers. Everything is right with this movie. The directing, the acting, the script, the music, the editing, everything.
I know that this movie is based on the Japanese film Infernal Affairs. I recently purchased this movie off the Internet and currently I am waiting its arrival. I know that Brad Pitt bought the US rights to it and that he and ex-wife Jennifer Aniston produced it. I am looking forward to watching the original. I have heard that it is fantastic. I also heard that the two films, despite their likenesses, they also have their differences. I cannot wait to see the other one. I will write my review for that later.
I feel that I have not even scratched the surface as to the greatness of this film.
Verdict: See this movie, at least once. It can only get better with more viewings. On a scale of 1 to 10, this movie is at least a 10.