Martin Scorsese might be the greatest living filmmaker right now; his resume outshines the very best. His latest movie, The Departed, is a hailstorm of eye-opening performances, whiplash editing and the kind of fiery, passionate direction that yields a film virtually flawless. It is the best film of the year thus far.
Right from the get-go, we are rushed into the lives of Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). We watch as they pull their weight through the obstacles, eventually garnering separate positions as officers of the law; but, it becomes very clear very quickly that these men are not entirely who they appear to be. and nor is this movie.
The Departed is advertised as a “return to form” for Scorsese, his next Goodfellas or Mean Streets. However, The Departed is not Scorsese back-to-basics. Instead, it’s something better: a re-imaging of the crime-drama, awakened with healthy distractions that pop out like shooting stars.
The raw talent of the cast alone is enough to turn any movie into gold. DiCaprio, Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and Ray Winstone complete this star-studded cast. But, The Departed is not merely successful because of a singular aspect, but rather it is successful because it excels in all aspects.William Monahan’s loose adaptation of the popular Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs is spot-on, and quite frankly, without a single misstep. The performances are all Oscar worthy, particularly Nicholson’s and DiCaprio’s (who gives the best performance of his strong career).
Nicholson is a film’s dream. His Frank Costello is quick, witty, smart, flawed and above all, dangerous to everyone. including himself. No one has mastered the villain quite like Nicholson has with this role; he’s a disgusting piece of work.and a sight to behold. Nicholson proves a great actor is one of the greatest gifts of all.
That is not to say the gifts end there. A film hasn’t in recent memory been more showered by gifts, in fact, than The Departed, an often brash, violent film that is as tense as it is funny. Though as jolting as the film is for all of its duration, the last twenty minutes is the killer, leaving you drunk off intensity, almost to the point where you might have to go to the bathroom just to wash the sweat off your hands. This is an epic film; therefore, its statements are not small.
It goes without saying that this is a Martin Scorsese picture. Every signature mark is there-the crisp camera pans and tracks, the bellowing soundtrack, the hefty body count, the rich, gritty details of urban city lifestyle-it’s all punctuated to perfection, from one of the few men who can still make a movie feel truly important. It’s easy to say no one brings out the “big guns” like Scorsese does; there just isn’t another filmmaker like him.
To put it mildly, The Departed is best described as a rollercoaster, but without the ups and downs. It is constantly at top speed.and you never have a second to breathe.
Leonardo DiCaprio.Billy Costigan
Matt Damon.Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson.Frank Costello
Martin Sheen.Oliver Queenan
Ray Winstone.Mr. French
Directed by Martin Scorcese
Running Time: 149 min.
Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.