In what some would call Scorsese's return to form, the Departed manages to compile a thunderous cast, a break neck pulse and a wonderfully woven tale of deceit and double cross, based on the Asian thriller Infernal Affairs. Set in the wonderful shit hole of Boston, where mobster Frank Costello runs an extremely tried and tested operation, a young up and comer, William Costigan, is forced to go undercover to expose his crimes. However what Costigan soon figures out not only puts himself at risk, it also threatens Costello's informant from the inside, Colin Sullivan, a hot shot New York cop, with an overly compensating nack for offense and defense mechanism that needs some touching up. Its a wonderfully layered tale and although the writer does a decent job of updating the original to an American setting and make it more tongue and cheek, he still cant shake the heavy influence the Asian angle still has on the film. Although brutally hilarious, The Departed at times seems extremely forced and littered with dialogue that it trying its hardest to be approved by Tarintino afficionados. Nicholson and Damon seem to be the only ones who get the joke, leaving delivery of lines by other actors, somewhat a mixed bag, it is without a doubt The Departed's biggest flaw, one that can ask a lot from the audience, however the film more than makes up from its clunky dialogue with wonderful performances, a blistering soundtrack and some brilliant direction. The cast is a Hollywood wet dream, Leonardo DeCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson, Ray Winstone, Vera Fermiga and Alec Baldwin are but a few of the wonderful thespians on offer here and every single one of them knocks it out the park. Leo really shines as under cover agent Costigan, I've never questioned the mans ability, but here all the neysayers have no leg to stand on, he adds a human and desperate angle to the tale, he is our in, our heartbeat and Leo thumps home a wonderfully crafted performance that manages to withstand the talent on offer around him. Damon is equally brilliant, Scorsese should be proud of his choice to cast these two in such a similar, yet contrasting role, both actors have similar backgrounds, yet are wildly different, it adds so much to the film watching two performers use all the tools in their box, to try and uncover one another and even though the couple spend such a sparse amount of time on screen together, both their determination and desperation adds a layer of tension to the piece that no script writer could even dare create. Nicholson is having the time of his life as Frank Costello, its easy at first glance to think "Old Jack" is phoning in a performance, until you see him quickly become Frank, this is one of those rare moments where an actor vanishes from before you and your left with a character, it just adds the cherry on top that Nicholson manages to have such a hoot playing him. The supporting cast are all top notch, however it is Wahlberg that steals the show, mostly because his one liners and viperesque presence can be such a wild shift in tone, that it catches you completely off guard, feeling like this loose canon could start a fight during a midnight mass if he needed to. The films other strength is its edit and pacing, luckily we arent bogged down with long drawn out scenes, going over and over the same ground, just to hammer home the point. Scorsese does the opposite in fact, hurtling the audience through his maze, it allows the film to stay fresh and exciting, rather than teeter off into boring cop drama territory. He furthers this by his inclusion of some familiar, yet well chosen toe tappers, from The Rolling Stones to The Dropkick Murphey's both relevant and contrasting bands, who echo the culture of the characters we are asked to invest in. It really adds a lot to the film contextually, without having to stop every 5 minutes and explain the cultural background of what is going on. The film looks decent too and at times, it can look downright hypnotizing, with bold colours, noir-like shadows and 70's psychadelica blaring on the speakers, however the film never really stands out visually for me the entire way through, in fact it doesnt do too much in the way of style, its not a terrible thing, but when Scorsese is trying to input moments here and there, that are clearly so bold and stylistic, only to forget them and their purpose for most of the movie, makes you feel like he is trying to pay too much homage to the original piece rather than flesh out his own vision. It is a minor gripe, but its one that did drag me out the film a little from time to time. The Departed is not perfect, it is visually inconsistent and has some extremely clunky dialogue, but its wonderful character acting, blistering soundtrack and exciting narrative manages to mostly overshadow the low points. It would be a sin not to check it out, but it really is a pale comparison to the likes of Taxi Driver or Wolf Of Wall Street.