Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Written by William Monahan. Based on the film
Affairs", written by Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga and Jack
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 10/3/06
"The Departed" is set in Boston,
Massachusetts...and, Boston is the ONLY thing I didn't like about
Good in nearly every way, "The
Departed"--based on the 2002 Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs", with
Andy Lau and Tony Leung--is just as good as the original for vastly
different reasons that you pick up once you have seen the HK version
of the storyline. The story is, of course, the reason that we
ripped this off in the first place--a cop with few prospects of
doing well in the Massachusetts State Police department, Billy
Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is recruited by the head of the
undercover unit, Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen), to join the gang of
the most ruthless crime lord in South Boston, Frank Costello (Jack
Nicholson). That's all well and good, except for one thing--a
cop that came through the ranks to the MSP at the same time as
Billy, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), was basically raised by Frank
while growing up and had only joined the cops in the first place to
make sure the cops never catch up to Frank's dirty dealings.
Eventually, Billy and Colin realize that someone is on their
tail...what they DON'T know is that each one is chasing the other.
Through the course of 150 fairly tense
minutes, director Martin Scorsese does a great job of showing us
both sides of the equation, as gloriously profane and as
gratuitously violent as any flick this year. With a cast this
loaded, the strong acting part is a cinch--in addition to everyone
above, you get Vera Farmiga as the love interest (she was the best
"Running Scared" earlier this year), Mark Wahlberg as the other
member of the undercover unit, Alec Baldwin as another lead cop, Ray
Winstone (the brute Brit from
Anthony Anderson...shit, you even get the guy that played Chase from
"24" a few seasons ago! DiCaprio and Damon are great as the
leads, although I think I remember Lau in the Damon part being much
stronger as a believable cop but the charm of both guys works in
their respective movies. (Brad Pitt was going to be in this
film when it first snapped up, but he is only listed as a producer
now.) Nicholson is a ham, but a tough ham, one that gets many
of the film's best lines but also looks like he might really lead a
team of toughs on various missions around the city.
"Infernal Affairs" is not that bloody; "The
Departed"--REALLY bloody, thanks to a lot of people getting it all
movie long. (And that ending--whoa!!) This and the
trademark Scorsese profanity means that you get a steady dose of the
words cocksucker, cunt, fuckin' rat (and the lovely variety of fuck
iterations) all movie long. You might actually feel exhausted
when you leave the theater after this one from the sheer volume of
profanity; much like "Goodfellas", "Casino" or any other classic
Scorsese flick, colorful language just sounds better in his films.
But here's the big surprise with "The
Departed"--the acting, atmosphere, story and soundtrack all work,
but the script is also very, very funny throughout. Baldwin,
Wahlberg and Nicholson have most of the funny lines in this film but
I was very impressed with how well the laughs are built into the
script; you never go too long without a laugh interspersed between
the bodybags. Once you add this in, we're talking about a
guaranteed top-five finish for "The Departed" when the dust settles.
Miss Sunshine", "The Departed" is maybe the only other film I
have seen this year that is a 100% guarantee to not disappoint.
Like, if you were to say to me
"Yeah, that 'Little Miss Sunshine', I didn't
like that at all"
it would pretty much guarantee that you are
a Nazi. Same goes for "The Departed", so check this one out
when it opens this weekend. Our packed-house audience tonight
gave it mad love when the credits started to roll.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard