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The Departed – Review August 17, 2009

Posted by Cello in Domestic Film Reviews.


The story of The Departed is based on the 2002 crime thriller out of Hong Kong called Infernal Affairs [review]. Scorsese was quoted as saying, “Infernal Affairs is a very good example of why I love the Hong Kong Cinema. Our film was inspired by Infernal Affairs, because of the nature of the story.” So this is definetely a film that has been inspired by asian cinema to be made for domestic movie goers. The result is nothing short of fantastic.

The Departed is an absolutely fascinating exploration, a mix of all kinds of different genres. This film is an unhappy film following a division of police officers and a gang of criminals. Set in Boston the movie shifts between Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is an undercover cop and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) who can probably best be described as an undercover criminal. The two cops at the center of the film are both traitors to their own comrades and as such live with an almost constant, building, pressure.


DiCaprio is excellent as Costigan, a man who life gets more and more dangerous as he gets wrapped up tighter and tighter in the criminal world. While Jack Nicholson is almost universally tops among his Hollywood peers, something about his role as Frank Costello doesn’t impress. The cat and mouse game, as Colin and Billy dig into exposing each other, is the meat of The Departed and is an intelligent, riveting story well acted by Damon and DiCaprio.

Even though I didn’t enjoy Jack’s performance, it was still a fun ride to watch. Watching him cursing with racist glee, enjoying cocaine fueled interracial threesomes, and licking bugs off the palm of his hand, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Despite the stated accolades and hesitations about the cast, The Departed is another of Scorsese’s ensemble endeavors that overachieves and definitely satisfies as one of the best examples of filmmaking substance and style today.



1. ironanno - August 17, 2009

Did Scorsese really say that Infernal Affairs was merely “inspiration”? I think remake might be a better term. Still, even though the movies are very similar though The Departed is the more enjoyable film for me. Perhaps only because I saw it first or more likely because of language and other cultural differences which were a nuisance with Infernal Affairs.

I agree about Jack Nicholson on this, he was good but lacked something. The actor shining above all was DiCaprio. I hadn’t seen him in anything besides Titanic and that Three Musketeers piece before this and he redeemed himself in my eyes with this badass role.

Cello - August 17, 2009

I actually did a lil research on this one, it turns out the writer who penned the script didn’t even SEE Infernal Affairs. So he was really pushing the idea that it wasn’t in fact a remake but just something of inspiration. I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

And yeah, tell me about it DiCaprio made me a fan after this flick.

2. Freedom Debt Relief - August 18, 2009

The movie was great even though it was a remake, it is done really good.

3. Phear - August 18, 2009

I remember watching this on television (Starz, I think) since I’m not usually into crime thrillers or anything, but I had heard good things. When it was over, I was just like “Wow.” It was a fantastic film with incredible performances, and that ending. . . man. . .

4. Heather - August 18, 2009

GOOOOOOOOOOOD, I could go on and on about this one. Without question one of the best movies of the last decade and one of my favorites of all time. Dicaprio was unfucking believable in this movie. Should have won the Oscar for best actor even though he wasn’t even nominated for this, but for Blood Diamond. Cursed ass Academy. This is one of those movies that someone brings up and it just makes me want to sit down and watch it again. Perfect movie.

5. gemarrs - August 19, 2009

What? Oh hell yeah. The Departed stands as a whole world of metaphorical messages in my realm, morals, tactics, and self-optimizations.

Good post 🙂

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