The Departed (2006)


The Departed is yet another Scorsese crime drama that can easily stand up to the likes of Goodfellas and Casino. Based on a Hong Kong thriller, the plot was adjusted to fit into South Boston and the Irish mob, and a stellar cast including Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio (sounds more like a guinea name than a mick name) delivers it with gusto. The story is about two state police officers, one working undercover with the bad guys and one working as an inside man for the mob. It’s not a mystery, as we are explicitly told whose loyalties lie where. Rather, the essence of the movie is how the characters deal with their surroundings, particularly Damon and DiCaprio, the two men leading double lives, and how those lives of deception wreaks havoc on their psyches. An anxiousness hangs over many of the characters, each trying to reach their own goal and most of them failing to do so. The film also has the usual violence that permeates Scorsese’s films, but it holds to the old adage that those who live by the sword, die by the sword. No character is safe from a bullet to the head, again leading to the anxiousness levels of some of the characters. Where the movie falters is with the relationship(s) involving the Vera Farmiga character. There is no real development, and we’re expected to believe that romantic relationships are developing where there is little to no evidence of it. Furthermore, she is there more as a way for the other, more interesting characters to bounce off of, and not because she offers much of anything. Her character is more of a set piece than anything else. Overall, The Departed is a smart gangster movie with teeth, although it might have a bit of an overbite. It offers tension and bloodshed, an all-star cast, and two and a half hours of time well spent. As far as action films go, you can’t do much better.

One comment

  1. I can only agree. Terrific movie, and the psychiatrist double-girlfriend was a rather far-fetched idea, executed poorly, and apparently completely useless in her profession to people who actually <>really needed<> that kind of help.And one of these days, I’ll totally review a movie I actually liked, just like you can do! 😦


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