The Departed Reviews
I'm not a fan of early-aughts Marty or Leo, but Leo isn't bad in this role. Matt Damon's face and voice are too boring to play a villain, Martin Sheen's character is pretty thankless and dies easily, and Marky Mark's character is just a dick for the sake of being a dick - hardly enough meat to develop an Oscar-worthy performance. The only female character is just there to form a slapdash love triangle, and the script doesn't even write her as a realistic psychologist.
"Cops or Criminals. When you're facing a loaded gun what's the difference?"
I'm having a tough time deciding what my favorite Scorsese movie is. Every time I have thought about it, my favorite shifts between this, Casino, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull. I'm starting to lean towards this as my favorite film from him though, but it doesn't really matter when you have his filmography. This movie is an amazing piece of filmmaking by Scorsese. It's gritty and suspenseful from start to finish.
The cast is excellent. Jack Nicholson gives what may end up being his last great performance. Mark Wahlberg gives his best performance and Matt Damon is excellent as always. Martin Sheen and Vera Farmiga are great in their supporting role as well. But let's talk about the true star of this film, Leonardo DiCaprio. The guy is the best actor going right now. He keeps starring in great movie after great movie. Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, Revolutionary Road, Body of Lies, Inception, and The Departed since 2002. There's no denying he's the best right now.
The Departed has such an engrossing plot. Billy Costigan is undercover and is working for Frank Costello. He's trying to get something on him that will stick, but it's difficult because Costello has an informer who is also a cop in Colin Sullivan. Everyone knows that there's rats and informers but don't know who they are and it just adds to the suspense that we know and they don't. Like Hitchcock said if you tell us there's a bomb and let it play out, that's suspense if you just blow it up without telling us, that's a surprise. Like every Scorsese the soundtrack is really good as well.
So yeah, I think this is my absolute favorite Scorsese movie. It's one of the best crime dramas you'll ever watch and is one of the true crime epics of the 21st century. It has just the right amount of everything. It's violent, it's funny, it's scary, it's everything that it needs to be. This is a must see movie in the same way Goodfellas or Taxi Driver is. It will leave you motionless the first time you watch it. I've seen it many times now and each and every time I revisit it, I find something new to love about it.
Colin Sullivan: Do you know what will happen if you shoot me?
Billy Costigan: Yeah, this bullet will go right through your fucking head!
What makes this movie so good is that it lavishly indulges its villains, building up this gross inequity as it coasts on, blithely ignoring all sense of justice and morality that we've come to expect from Hollywood. If you hate spoilers then stop reading now because here's a spoiler for you: it doesn't have a happy ending. And it kills me, it twists the knife deeper as we watch Billy sink further into paranoia and helplessness, needing his reality back and the movie holds it outstretched, denying him relief and denying him his reward for fighting the good fight. What a spectacular tease. Icing on the cake: Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, all the colourful language and the Boston accents.