Genre: Mystery & Suspense
Runtime: 2 hr 31 min
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin
Exhilarating but lacerating – the violence stings.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 8 years ago
This is Martin Scorsese’s best movie since Casino, but it gets a lot of flak from film geeks. That’s because it’s a remake of a superior Honk Kong police procedural called Infernal Affairs. Personally, I don’t mind that it’s a remake; remaking Infernal Affairs isn’t like remaking, say, Oldboy. Scorsese makes the material his own, and the energy level of the filmmaking is breathtaking.
We know we’re in Scorsese Land from the very beginning, as “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones introduces us to the Boston underworld that will serve as the film’s gritty milieu. The film just keeps escalating from there, with whiplashing plot twists and razor-sharp dialogue. William Monahan’s Oscar-winning screenplay provides some of the best material Scorsese has had to work with since Taxi Driver, which came out 30 years before The Departed.
And the performances! Jack Nicholson has been criticized for being too showy as the crime boss Frank Costello, but honestly, I wouldn’t have him any other way. Ray Winstone is scary good as Costello’s second-in-command. This is another one of Matt Damon’s exemplary “Tom Ridley” performances. He uses a smarmy smile to cover up his evil deeds – you want to punch this guy’s face in. Four other great performances: Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, who are given some of the film’s funniest dialogue (“Maybe… maybe not… maybe fuck yourself”); and Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Sheen. This may be DiCaprio’s best performance ever (actually, he keeps getting better; he’s amazing in Revolutionary Road). The final scenes he and Sheen are in are simply devastating.
The Departed is exhilarating but lacerating – the violence stings. Brian De Palma still makes movies like this, but they’re not on the same level as this one. I can’t wait to see what Marty and Leo do with Shutter Island next February!