The Departed (18)



Thriller (2006)
151mins US

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): William Monahan
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Undercover cop Billy Costigan successfully infiltrates the South Boston crime ring fronted by Frank Costello. Meanwhile, one of Frank's underlings, Colin Sullivan, worms his way into the upper echelons of the police force, acting as an informant for his boss. The two snakes in the grass begin to lose sight of their true selves as they become wrapped up in their false identities. Fearful that they will be exposed, the two double agents try to learn one another's identities and kill off the competition.

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Won Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Director (Martin Scorsese) at The 79th Academy Awards® (25th February 2007)

LondonNet Film Review

The Departed
Based on the 2002 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, Martin Scorsese's latest tale of betrayal and deception in the criminal underworld melds stellar performances with wonderful earthy dialogue, punctuated with explosions of violence...

Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon in The Departed. Film released by: Entertainment FilmsThe Departed bears all of the veteran filmmaker's hallmarks, but while this bloodthirsty thriller may finally earn Scorsese the Academy Award that has eluded him all these years, he won't truly deserve it.

From a technical perspective, the film offers little that we haven't seen before from the master director and there's a noticeable lack of brio in the action set pieces.

The Departed succeeds thanks to the magnificent efforts of his regular collaborators, not least editor Thelma Schoonmaker, whose mastery of pacing makes light work of the excessive 151 minute running time.

Leonardo DiCaprio continues to mature as an actor, reveling in the ambiguities of his character, and there is strong work too from Matt Damon as his nemesis: two snakes in the grass who must decide whether to bite, or be bitten.

Screenwriter William Monahan transplants the action of the original film to South Boston, where organized crime rings are locked in a bitter battle for supremacy with the Massachusetts State Police. The police's chief target is mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) - put him behind bars and his entire empire will crumble to its foundations. So Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and hard-nosed Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) decide to destroy Costello by planting a mole in his close-knit operation.

They approach young recruit Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) to go deep undercover, including a brief spell behind bars to forge a reputation as a good cop-turned-bad. Costello appears to fall for the ruse and he slowly welcomes Billy into his operation, learning the ropes from his associate Mr French (Ray Winstone).

However, the police are unaware that one of Costello's underlings, Colin Sullivan (Damon), has successfully wormed his way into the upper echelons of the force. Working alongside Captain Ellerby (Alec Baldwin) on the Special Investigations Unit, Sullivan is party to vital information about the police's secret operations, and he drip-feeds the information back to his boss. Costello and the police soon realize they have double agents within their organizations, and both sides put plans into action to smoke out the traitors.

The Departed plays to its strengths, including a terrific ensemble cast and impeccable production design, editing and a thrilling orchestral score from Howard Shore. DiCaprio and Damon command the screen and in his latest, larger-than-life supporting turn, Nicholson merrily steals every scene, blessed with all of screenwriter Monahan's best lines and an unforgettable 'revelation' in an adult cinema. He delights in his character's earthy dialogue. "How's your mother?" Costello asks an acquaintance. "She's on her way out," comes the somber reply. "We all are," responds Costello, "Act accordingly!"

- Heather Von Bourne


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