The Departed (2006)

The Departed (2006)
  • Time: 151 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson


To take down South Boston’s Irish Mafia, the police send in one of their own to infiltrate the underworld, not realizing the syndicate has done likewise in Martin Scorsese’s multiple Oscar-winning crime thriller. While an undercover cop curries favor with the mob kingpin, a career criminal rises through the police ranks. But both sides soon discover there’s a mole among them.


  • “The Departed” is absolutely stunning, this movie is a rare case of a movie remake that surpasses its original in most ways. The acting is excellent, performances from high profile actors such as Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon and the legendary actor Jack Nicholson are just a part of what makes this film a must see. The acting in this movie really blew me away! Director Martin Scorsese just seems to get the best out of actors. The film held an excellent storyline leaving you waiting for more till the very, very end and yet leaves you wanting more. The kind of movie that leaves the audience at the edge of their seats to puzzle piece ever thing together. This is a classic Martin Scorsese film. Enjoy this milestone of a film and remember it for years to come!

  • From the start of the film, we are immediately introduced to the glue that holds this film together, the unique atmosphere of the city of Boston. Frank Costello (Nicholson) begins with a monologue about the city in which he controls the drugs, the neighborhoods, and most of all, the people. In Costello’s words, a Bostonian man can either be a cop or criminal, but when a man is facing a loaded gun, there is no difference. This is just a sniff of the foul works of Costello and his Irish mobsters in the city of Boston.
    We see Costello take a young boy named Collin Sullivan under his wing, and raise him as his own son on the streets with the intention of establishing a mole in the police department. Flash-forward to Sullivan’s graduation from the Massachusetts State Police Department training, and he is rises quickly to a position on the force.
    The other man who leads this story is William “Billy” Costigan Jr. Costigan (DiCaprio) has grown up in different households, and has become determined to veer from his family’s expectations of him, and he decides to become a state police detective. During his meeting with Captain Queenan (Sheen), he is assigned an undercover mission to infiltrate Costello’s gang. It does not take Costigan much time, and before he knows it, he has become a member of Costello’s inner circle.
    As time goes on, both Sullivan and Costigan realize that is an informant working in each other’s area, and they begin to fiercely search for the other. It is not long before twists and betrayals abound in the near future for every person involved.

    In his 21st return to the mobster genre, elite film director Martin Scorsese delivers some of his best work in this modern-day flick. Based on a Hong Kong film called “Internal Affairs”, this story of two informants in each other’s allegiances is a modern classic. Featuring and ensemble cast and a beautifully written script, this is a great movie. On Oscar night, the Departed came home with 4 statuettes (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing). Even though he did not gain any hardware, Mark Wahlberg was nominated for his performance as fanatical tough-guy Sergeant Dignam. Now I must warn you. This is a R-rated film, with hard language and gun violence rampant throughout the run time. In my opinion, the dialogue of certain scenes, especially featuring Sgt. Dignam, is unnecessarily foul. With that being said, this is fantastic modern-mob flick, and it is a crime thriller for the ages.

    The language was uncomfortably pervasive in some scenes to me, and that is what keeps that last point out of the score.


    There is a scene in Reservoir Dogs (1992) that the repressed and medieval American types call the ‘Commode Scene’. I’m going to call it the toilet scene because this is the 21st Century, not the 16th.
    Mr Orange played by Tim Roth is telling a autobiographical story animatedly to his colleagues in a bar. It’s a classic seedy bar-scene with drink, smokes, and the art of the storyteller:- So Mr Orange had arranged a drug deal and was at the train station carrying the dope. He needs to take a piss and goes to the toilet. There he sees four policemen talking, one is telling a story, one has a German Shepherd dog on a leash. They all turn to look at him. Mr Orange is melting with panic. The dog barks at him.
    On the outside he is so coool.
    He turns and takes a piss as slow as you like. Slower than a fifty year-old road-cyclist in ladies’ lycra. He tidies up and strolls to the sinks. Washes his hands.
    Mr Orange turns to the hand-dryer and pops the button. Like a Boeing 767/400 taking off, the dryer builds and builds to a prolonged screaming crescendo – drowning out the policeman’s tale, the dog’s barking. Mr Orange is still coool. Cooler than we are.
    The dryer stops and he strolls out of the toilet.
    Back in the bar, Joe, one of the guys he’s telling the story to says,

    “You knew how to handle that situation:- You shit your pants, dive in and swim.”

    This is so true. I play live poker on a regular basis at a poker club. I’m playing both people I know and mostly people I don’t. Poker involves bluffing.
    A classic case: I have a goodish hand at the start and I raise the bet to try and stop other players staying in the hand. Two people call my raise and we see some cards from the dealer. My hand has not improved but I bet again anyway. One of the two fold and the other calls.
    I haven’t improved, but it looks like he may have. He may now have a pair.
    We see another card. My hand has improved a little – I may get a flush next card. So I bet again. He calls.
    We see a card. A nothing card. I still have not improved enough to win the hand. So do I just fold my hand or do I Bluff some more and bet it? And bluffing is not as easy as it sounds.
    I follow the school of trying to look as relaxed as possible. I tend to keep moving and stay cool. Some players start to talk when they’re bluffing. Others go rigid and barely breath. they are trying to give nothing away. Some bluffers breath faster and you can see their shoulders heaving up and down.
    The big problem is that as well as showing bluffers, players telling the truth with a fantastic winning hand show them too! It’s because they know they are going to get all my chips and they are very excited about it.
    My problem is telling the difference.
    When I’m on a table where everyone seems honest, it is easier to bluff.
    If I am on a table full of bluffers, there’s no point bluffing as they won’t believe you.
    Back in our game – I bluff my hand. I bet. And I decide to try the ‘go still’ method. The other player looks at me and tries to decide what cards I hold. I feel my breathing increasing as he watches me and I know my shoulders are moving. So do I stay with the ‘still’ method, or switch up and start talking? Trouble is if I do that, my first words might squeak or quiver. Probably not good.
    He looks at me again, shrugs and calls my bet. He sees he won the hand and scoops up all the chips.
    “I knew he was bluffing” he tells the table. Obviously a bluffer himself!

    Which would I rather be? A bluffer on an honest table? Or honest on a bluffing table? Definitely not the latter – they’ll just bluff all over me.
    And so it is with Billy Costigan, the undercover policeman infiltrating the American-Irish gang. We see his immense struggle to stay safe – the gang are paranoid and believe no-one least of all themselves. The stress of potential discovery wears Billy down and he begins to fall apart.
    Colin Sullivan on the other hand is cool throughout. Never a hair out of place, beautifully suited, and always with an answer. Sullivan is the undercover gangster pretending to be a policeman. Advice – best hide in plain sight surrounded by honest folk if you want to disappear.

    The Departed is an elegant beautifully edited and crafted dirty-cop movie. There are few better. Scorcese has created an exceedingly intelligent movie which doesn’t for one minute try to explain itself or patronise the viewer. It has some great characters who are perfectly cast.
    The actors directed by Scorcese give their roles total commitment and none attempt to outshine the other.
    I have seen this movie about four times. At my first viewing, I struggled to distinguish Matt Damon from Leonardo DiCaprio – I was confusing their roles and positions. It took a second viewing to sort that out.
    But I am guessing that was possibly deliberate on Scorcese’s part: The idea of these two contemporaries fighting on opposite sides whilst hiding in the enemy’s camps is a sweet idea. I like the existential tension between their absolutely opposite roles and their individual similarities.
    The narrative arc is smooth as silk and the storyline/scenes making up the crescendo-finale are absolutely breath-taking in their speed and surprise.

    With DiCaprio, Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg acting their hearts out, it’s easy to overlook Jack Nicholson’s amazing Frank Costello, the Gang Boss. It is a truism that whatever role Jack Nicholson plays, he is usually essentially Jack Nicholson. But watch him closely here. He has created a character of infinite layers. He’s all fuck-off and gangsta when on the street. He speaks in couplets of euphemistic joy to his girlfriend. He’s sneaky and snide when he’s trapping and he’s just normal guy with problems when he’s alone with Mr French. There can be no doubt this is one of his career standout-roles.

    I am a bit of a DiCaprio fan and he does well here. No scrub that.
    Other than picking out Jack Nicholson, I’m going to reiterate that this is an amazing team effort from the actors’ point of view. I think it would be disingenuous to pick out individuals – they all done good. So I’m going to leave it at that.

    I urge you to watch this movie in a dark room with few distractions. It is so good you will end up thinking about the story rather than the movie: How on earth do undercover agents do it? How can they live this lie so convincingly and for so long. How can they immerse themselves so deeply into the role that they respond in real-time with further irrefutable lies?
    Mr Orange’s tale in the Reservoir Dogs Bar scene was a lie. It was a lie that he had learnt and rehearsed again and again. He’d even created parallel and adjoining lies to make it more convincing. The false life he thus created worked for him until it didn’t. Which is pretty much what happens to our guys in The Departed.

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