|The Departed (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the massachusetts state police & the irish mafia but violence & bloodshed boil when discoveries are made & the moles are dispatched to find out their enemys identities. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 11/11/2008 Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio Jack Nicholson Run time: 151 minutes Rating: R
Martin Scorsese makes a welcome return to the mean streets (of Boston, in this case) with The Departed, hailed by many as Scorsese's best film since Casino. Since this crackling crime thriller is essentially a Scorsese-stamped remake of the acclaimed 2002 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, the film was intensely scrutinized by devoted critics and cinephiles, and while Scorsese's intense filmmaking and all-star cast deserve ample acclaim, The Departed is also worthy of serious re-assessment, especially with regard to what some attentive viewers described as sloppy craftsmanship (!), notably in terms of mismatched shots and jagged continuity. But no matter where you fall on the Scorsese appreciation scale, there's no denying that The Departed is a signature piece of work from one of America's finest directors, designed for maximum impact with a breathtaking series of twists, turns, and violent surprises. It's an intricate cat-and-mouse game, but this time the cat and mouse are both moles: Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is an ambitious cop on the rise, planted in the Boston police force by criminal kingpin Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a hot-tempered police cadet who's been artificially disgraced and then planted into Costello's crime operation as a seemingly trustworthy soldier. As the multilayered plot unfolds (courtesy of a scorching adaptation by Kingdom of Heaven screenwriter William Monahan), Costigan and Sullivan conduct a volatile search for each other (they're essentially looking for "themselves") while simultaneously wooing the psychiatrist (Vera Farmiga) assigned to treat their crime-driven anxieties.
Such convenient coincidences might sink a lesser film, but The Departed is so electrifying that you barely notice the plot-holes. And while Nicholson's profane swagger is too much "Jack" and not enough "Costello," he's still a joy to watch, especially in a film that's additionally energized by memorable (and frequently hilarious) supporting roles for Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, and a host of other big-name performers. The Departed also makes clever and plot-dependent use of cell-phones, to the extent that it couldn't exist without them. Powered by Scorsese's trademark use of well-chosen soundtrack songs (from vintage rock to Puccini's operas), The Departed may not be perfect, but it's one helluva ride for moviegoers, proving popular enough to become the biggest box-office hit of Scorsese's commercially rocky career. --Jeff Shannon
On the DVD
Introduced by director Martin Scorsese, the nine deleted scenes from The Departed are all interesting to watch, though not a significant loss from the picture. The other bonus features are very good as well. "Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie, and The Departed" is a 21-minute history of the real-life Boston gangster Jack Nicholson's character was based on. Scorsese, screenwriter William Monahan, and a number of journalists are among those interviewed. In "Crossing Criminal Cultures" (24 minutes), Scorsese and the cast discuss gangster pictures and specifically Scorsese's. Consider that a warm-up for Scorsese on Scorsese, an 86-minute documentary from 2004. (It's the only bonus feature not available on the HD DVD or Blu-ray versions.) There's no narrator or interviewer: it's just Scorsese talking about his upbringing and influences. There's a generous use of clips through The Aviator and even his American Express commercial. --David Horiuchi
Beyond The Departed
More gangster movies
Amazon.com's Martin Scorsese Essentials
The original inspiration: Infernal Affairs
- MARTIN SCORSESE FINALLY WON BEST DIRECTOR!!!! XD
How my ratings work:
5 - I really liked/loved it
4 - I liked it
3 - Could've been better/worth a look
2 - Just didn't live up to the potential
1 - Simply aweful
Was this the movie that Scorsese desearved the best director Oscar for? Some say yes, others say no. Personally I think Raging Bull and Goodfellas are the movies he should've won for. But I'm not gonna complain because the Academy finally recognized Scorsese. After 27 years of being nominated, he finally got the award he desearved. Not that he needed an oscar to prove his worth in the movie world. Scorsese is by far the one of the best directors of any generation. But this movie is still worth a watch. It's a rivetting tale of murder, deceit, and betrayel. Everyone gives it their all. Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Whalberg are all at the top of their game here. I don't really need to go into the plot details, there are plenty of other reviews on here that will do that for you....more info
- "A Modern Classic for those Rat C@*k$uckers !!!
If not the best motion picture of all time. This has to be in the top 3!!!
When I first saw the trailers for this film on TV I was split down the middle. Being a massive fan of Martin Scorsese I was hooked. Yet never quite being a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio made me a bit indifferent. Then seeing the icon Jack Nicholson tagged to the picture gave my flesh goosebumps. The names Scorsese/Nicholson meant "Great Movie" to me. So because of that I avoided any remaining information about the picture so I could walk in opening weekend and be surprised.
Right from the outset with Jack's monologue of his harsh outlook on existence I was lost in the world of the South Boston underworld. Through police corruption via Matt Damon's character & vigilance through sacrifice from DiCaprio.
The movie further cemented itself in greatness with the amazing supporting cast. Martin Sheen brought in his 'A' game. Excitement and laughter came across me when I saw one of my favorites Alec Baldwin take the screen in a perfect role for him. Marc Walburg stepped up his dramatic chops even though his character most likely came natural for him. Matt Damon played the bit of hidden scumbag quite well. Then the biggest magic of all to me was that Scorsese was finally able to make a DiCaprio fan out of me with a very powerful performance.
The story was so intense & alive you are along for the journey the entire time. It's almost as living it through eyes of someone else. The brutal realism of the violence where none of it is played for shock value or over the top theatrics is the final piece of truth that Scorsese uses to bring this all to vibrant yet rough polish.
Yet to share one more thing with you all as to how great this film is. During the entire showing the first time I saw it on the big screen. My friend Dougie who tends to talk, talk talk & ramble on & on & on actually shut his mouth through the whole thing. SCORSESE IS GOD !
Now to this DVD version. The two-disc special edition is the ultimate. Not only because you have a copy of the widescreen version of 'the DEPARTED' you also have a disc of amazing special features. It's not cluttered yet they give you a deeper appreciation of the film.
*an incredible documentary about Whitey Bulger & the Irish mob of South Boston who the writer based the persona of Jack Nicholson's character on.
* Feature length documentary of the entire career of Martin Scorsese
*Featurette of Little Italy's crime & violence and how that and the crime drama genre influenced the mob films of Scorsese
*9 additional scenes with intros by Martin himself
Pick up this version if you are hunting for the perfect DVD of 'the Departed'!
Unless you have Blu-Ray this is the one....more info
- A few loose ends, but a great flick
Like most people, I watched this movie mainly just because of the impressive star power of the cast. (Which, in our celebrity obsessed culture, is probably just as good a reason to watch a movie as any). And it is quite an impressive cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and directed by Martin Scorese....Now is that a cast or what? And I know that usually in movies with too many big names somebody ends up being under-utilized, but I thought all the main actors in this movie were given at least a couple great scenes to chew the screen up.
Some researching on the internet reveals that this movie is an American remake of the Hong Kong flick "Infernal Affairs". (I've not seen "Infernal Affairs", but I've seen the previous at least. It always looked kind of interesting.)
"The Departed" is set in Boston and revolves around the Irish-American culture and the Irish mafia. It doesn't come close to the level of pyscho-analysis that "The Godfather" did for the Italian mafia, but there are various throw away lines referencing the Irish-American experience: "Twenty years after an Irishman could't get a job, we had the presidency. May he rest in peace."
The plot gets a little complicated but basically Jack Nicholson is a Irish Mafia boss. Leonardo DiCaprio is an undercover cop infiltrating the mafia. Matt Damon is an undercover mafia who has infiltrated the police department. As the movie progresses various betrayals and changes of allegiance follow.
I don't want to give away too much to anyone who hasn't seen this movie, but at various points I thought it should have been obvious who the respective moles were. And it seemed like everyone was getting pretty sloppy and getting away with it. But that's Hollywood for you I guess.
Also (and again, I hope I'm not giving too much away here. Spolier alert) the climax of the movie revolves around a taped conversation. You know, it turns out that something one of the characters said was being tape recorded and he didn't know it, and he said a lot of self-implicating things. Like we've seen a million other times in a million other movies and TV shows.
I suppose this is the most obvious way to end a story like this (which is why it's been used so many times before), but perhaps because it is the most obvious it is also the laziest. For my two cents I would liked to have seen a more interesting ending.
But the movie definately held my attention for the time I was watching it.
- Best film of 2006
This movie literally kept me on the edge of my seat when I first saw it in the theater. It has everything you could possibly ever want in a film: Superb acting, drama, action, violence, suspense, and a great unsuspecting ending. Its a fantastic ride. There is no question this deserved its Oscar win....more info
- Awesome Crime/Mob Drama
This is a great Crime/Mob Drama. Story is awesome. Acting is great. Directing is top notch. Very enjoyable movie with a lot of WTF moments. A must see....more info
- Great Moive
One of the best movies out there, love it from beginning to end, should have won more Oscars but they are predjudiced in Hollywood, very intense...more info
- Never has a film been so aptly titled!
Never has a film been so aptly titled!
"The Departed" tells the story of two Boston cops - one called Billy (played by Leonardo di Caprio) who is "good" and one called Colin (played by Matt Damon) who is most certainly rotten. Colin is using his power and influence to protect his gangster father-figure Costello (Jack Nicholson).
The police know that they have a traitor in their midst so two investigators - a wise old cop Queenan (Martin Sheen) and a young tyro Dignam(Mark Wahlberg) have secretly asked Billy to infiltrate Costello's gang to find out who the mole is.
So begins a race against time between Billy and Colin to see who gets "outed" first.
Scorsese has humbly described "The Departed" as a genre movie. But it is more than that - sure it's a bloodthirsty gangster film with more than a few credibility issues - but this is Scorsese in top gear. The concentrated energy and almost stylised nature of the plot gives "The Departed" an operatic quality.
Scorsese draws superb performances out of the big-name cast - did I mention Alec Baldwin as the wonderfully oily Chief of Police?
Truly exciting film-making from this master film-maker. ...more info
- [Fart noise]
I have just never responded to Scorsese [okay, I liked Kundun]. I just don't find much meaning in all that macho blustering, and I find his movies very unemotional and cold. I also just don't respond to gangster movies. I don't find them compelling at all. So this may account for my feeling of intense annoyance when walking out of The Departed.
The first 20 minutes are fantastic. Scorsese lays out the histories of Damon as Sullivan, being a good boy and rising up the police ranks while all the time beholden to Nicholson's Boston crime boss Costello. DiCaprio has a more troubled history [during which I was never convinced WHY he wanted to be a cop], but both of their stories are laid out in a very quick and energetic way. The friend I went with was talking about the quick, staccato editing here that "is almost like the intro to a TV show where they tell you what happened last week," but for me it really worked.
So Damon goes on this elite police force and DiCaprio is asked to go undercover with Costello. From there it's all Donnie Brasco, Donnie Brasco, Donnie Brasco [okay, there's one gangster movie I responded to], with the additional wrinkle of that both guys need to discover the identity of the other one. There are lots of near-misses, lots of one-person-relaying-information-while-the-other-is-too, and gallons of macho bluster and OTT mugging from Nicholson [who wasn't quite as bad with that as I expected]. There is funny faux-Mamet patter like Alec Baldwin quickly saying "I'm gonna go outside and get a smoke. You want a smoke? No? What are you, some kind of fitness freak? Go f*** yourself," or a guy, after being shot in the knee. Whining "I thought I was supposed to go into shock. I'm not in shock. It hurts!" that are amusing, but that's when you still believe that this story is going to come to something.
I can't even be bothered to talk about the many twists and turns, because in the end they turn out mostly to be just time-wasters, and as we headed into the last hour I started thinking "Why do we need this scene? This scene could go. And what about that scene before? That was just another version of the many scenes we've seen before" which is not something I think any filmmaker wants the audience to be concerned with while they're watching a film.
And finally, it just doesn't come to much. Maybe it's a case of my expectations; I thought we were building toward a big showdown between Damon and DiCaprio where they would really have at it, and then it's getting to be 30 minutes `til the end [I was definitely waiting], then 15 minutes `til the end.... And that's when I really started to turn against the movie. Which is not even to mention the overall dissatisfaction of the ending. I want to avoid giving anything away, but suffice to say that the thing I wanted to see, we did not see. And we saw a whole lot of something else that, yeah, I guess it's one worldview, but it's not a worldview I find particularly compelling or interesting. And it's kind of a worldview that you don't need two-and-a-half hours to express, and is probably why I was so bitter that I felt this movie wasted so much of my time... for that. But Scorsese seems to be unable to make a movie that is less than two-and-a-half hours, and if he did, well, how would we know that it's an important film?
My friend [who liked it a little more than I did] asked me "well, how is this different from De Palma?" [And I was indeed sitting there wishing De Palma had directed it instead.] My answer was, well, in De Palma there is emotional content that gives me something to get involved with, whereas with Scorsese it's all tough guy blather with a little emotional stuff [here, the psychologist] thrown in for a little color, but the focus is on the guns and the cell phones and the tension and just how very hard these guys are. Wow, they sure are hard, tough guys, Marty. Wow.
Secondly, when De Palma enters into a set-piece, the sense I get from what's on screen [and this is highly subjective, just my feeling] is that he's inviting you, the audience, to play along and he wants you to enjoy it. The sense I get with Scorsese is that he wants you to passively sit back and admire his skill. Add that to how cold I find his films, and the sense I get is of Scorsese casting himself as the tough guy through his show-offy-yet-stand-offish technique, just as his films are filled with tough guys that he is unable to be. Yeah, yeah, Marty, you're the man, okay? Now go be the man over there.
The final shot is a somewhat sledgehammer-subtle message that there will always be corruption in the highest offices of power. Is this a statement? Well, obviously it's a statement, but is it an interesting statement? Did we need a 150 minutes to tell us this? Especially given the current state of Congress?
Everyone else loves this film, so take that as you may. As I said, I just don't respond to gangster movies and I just don't respond to Scorsese movies. The performances here are all very good and it's certainly well made but... take a half hour off and I'd be fine. And change the ending.
First time round I found The Departed a disappointingly average film, but on a second viewing it's clear I misjudged it: it really is a quite bad one. Scorsese's weaknesses as a storyteller have often been discussed, but he's not helped here by a remarkably poor and horrendously overpopulated script from the usually much more interesting William Monahan that at once dumbs down the original Infernal Affairs and simultaneously overcomplicates the storytelling. For all the additional characters and running time there's no grander design at work here to compensate. It may strain for grand opera but it simply comes across as off-key light operetta sung by people with sore throats.
The chief problem is the film's funereal pacing, which the clumsy editing and energetic camerawork increasingly fail to hide. The film takes forever to set up its plot - the film is half over before Matt Damon's undercover mobster who has worked his way into a Boston police task force is ordered to find himself - but never compensates by fleshing out the characters or adding any substance to the story. If anything, underneath all the bloat and bombast the film has seriously dumbed down the Infernal Affairs trilogy's underlying themes of identity, role playing and the need to find some kind of redemption in a world that requires you to be corrupt in order to live with yourself in some kind of peace. Instead, it's become a star vehicle in the worst sense of the phrase, where the central duo of police mole in the underworld and underworld mole in the police are effectively sidelined for so much of the picture that they almost become bit players.
Yet while we get seemingly endless and often incredibly long scenes of Jack Nicholson grandstanding, doing rat impersonations, waving sex toys around, insulting priests and generally impersonating Long John Silver as the cardboard mob moss, they really tell us nothing about either the character or the story. For all the constant repetition of his catchphrase "The point is," there simply is no point to most of these scenes other than padding out a minor supporting character (who in the original had no particular personal relationship with either main character) enough to attract an A-list actor and in the process unbalancing the film so much that he actually becomes the leading role. Scorsese has always shown a tendency to relentlessly hammer home the same point over and over again at great length despite making it perfectly well early in the film, and too many of Nicholson's scenes seem to be like hearing exactly the same joke very slightly paraphrased over and over and over again.
Unfortunately the problem isn't limited to Nicholson's resolutely unmenacing cartoonish villain. While both Leonardo DiCaprio and Damon (looking so much like James MacArthur that at times you keep on expecting Jack Lord to turn up and say "Book him, Dano") give stronger performances than their poorly written characters deserve, too many of the supporting roles have been beefed up or created purely to add more star power. There's no narrative reason for Ray Winstone or Mark Wahlberg's clich¨¦d characters (do Nicholson and Martin Sheen's undercover chief really need sidekicks, especially when Wahlberg's mere presence makes the last act isolation of DiCaprio utterly nonsensical?), while characters like Alec Baldwin's Steve McGarrett figure just leave the film feeling horribly overpopulated with too many people competing for screentime at the expense of the story and what should have been the central duo's dilemma. Not that there's much dilemma left. DiCaprio's undercover cop fares best, but Damon's undercover crook is much less interesting than Andy Lau's equivalent in the original - no longer torn between playing a good cop and genuinely wanting to change and become the good person he pretends to be, he's reduced to a rather bland half-dimensional stereotype while the contrived and underdeveloped romantic triangle is straight out of 30s melodrama, not helped by Vera Farmiga's tendency to change her expression every syllable in what increasingly looks like an impersonation of Corinne Bohrer. With characters this thin it's hard to get involved in the film as more than a disinterested observer and consequently there's not even any tension to any of the setpieces - the surveillance operation that goes wrong tipping both sides off to the moles in their ranks, the failed attempt by one mole to identify another at the cinema or a warehouse shootout all fall surprisingly flat even as exercises in technique.
All this would be forgivable if the film was more interesting or even sporadically exciting, but sadly it's a very dull and drawn out affair that never justifies two-and-a-half hours of screen time. The original was a tight 100-minute thriller with a great pulp premise elevated by good writing and fine performances by two directors with barely a fraction of Scorsese's talent. There's absolutely no reason that it shouldn't have been the basis for a terrific American remake that could even have improved on the original, but sadly this is a case of far too much talent for the film's own good. Distinctly Mediocrefellas.
Aside from the Scorsese on Scorsese documentary, extras are surprisingly light for a two disc set - some deleted scenes, a couple of short featurettes and a trailer. ...more info
What a great cast--- Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson....they are all just awesome and give superior performances. It's a thriller, a game of cat and mouse in which a Boston mob moss is trying to use his infiltrator on the police force to find out the identity of the officer who has gone undercover and infiltrated the mafia. It is a thriller that keeps you going till the very end and I did NOT expect the ending.
You must see this movie. I've seen Martin Scorsese's other films but this one triumphs as the best one so far. Thank goodness he won an Oscar for it, it deserved it!!...more info
There is no question that Scorsese has made some extraordinary films (Mean Streets and Goodfellas probably being the most outstanding) but this film is poor. The characterisation is lazy, the script is dull and witless, and I can't even say that it contained any particularly memorable shots. If you are the kind of person who thinks Guy Ritchie films are insightful and well-made then you will probably enjoy this. ...more info
- No One Here Gets Out Alive
If you've gotten to the point where you're reading movie reviews, you probably don't need a plot synopsis, so let's skip it. So how good is this movie...? I would say that this movie is to cinema what "An American Tragedy" is to literature - the most poorly made great piece of work of its time.
It's a great movie in the following ways: 1) The script is tightly plotted. Nothing is superfluous, nothing is overdone or overlooked, and the REAL RARITY? YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION. If you miss a second of this movie, you won't understand how the rest of it unfolds. 2) It's nice to watch some of the best living American actors all do their thing in a single film. Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo DiCaprio turn in particularly fine performances, and Matt Damon seemed to be extending his range (happily), playing a character for whom one cannot feel sorry, nor want to take home to meet Mom. 3) Depending on how you feel about one liners generally, the one liners are good, and very apt. I could go on about the familial and racial subtexts here as well, but suffice it to say that there is more than one character trying to please Daddy, and if you're black, Italian, Arab or Catholic, the first twenty minutes won't give you the warm fuzzies.
The Departed is less than stellar in the following ways: 1) As mentioned in several other reviews, the ending is a bit ludicrous. It felt like plot twists were being made for their own sake, rather than for the good of the film or the story. Without being a spoiler, let me just say here that I DID respect the choice NOT to pander to the mass audience's sensibilities in terms of what happens to the "good" and "bad" guys, or to reveal too much information in the end. 2) A few of these (albeit brilliant) actors are cast as themselves. Jack Nicholson brought out Jack the bad guy/madman for us, and Alec Baldwin was as smarmy on screen as we filthy little pigs are accustomed to seeing him offscreen. Most of these actors really brought their A-games though. And really, are Jack and Alec playing themselves the worst thing you could watch? Methinks not! 3) Aside from the ending, my one complaint with the script is that it was over-plotted and under-characterized. There were so many plot lines (two A lines, as well as B and C lines) that there just wasn't time for the main characters to have much of an arc. From beginning to end, Costello is Costello, Sullivan is Sullivan and Costigan is Costigan. The only two characters who seem to take themselves off the path they initially set out on were Mark Wahlberg and Vera Farmiga's characters.
Departures in The Departed: Although the characters in this film are believeable and very well acted, make no mistake: this is a plot driven movie. This seems contrary to the recent films of most of the lead actors, as well as for director Martin Scorcese. Also, this is a film that was truly made in the editing room. Although DiCaprio and Damon have the two A plot lines, they're in only 2 or 3 scenes together. There's a lot of editorial juxtaposition, cutting back and forth, and it can get a bit obvious - and overbearing. Another departure from Scorcese's style can be found in the cinematography, which is tighter and less panaromic than he seems to prefer. However, once you've seen a shot of Jack Nicholson lit in redlight showering two half naked women in coke, you'll remember whose movie you're watching.
All in all, I would say buy the movie. But don't turn away - you'll miss something important....more info
- Be realistic...
OK so this isn't Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy or Goodfellas but its film-making in a different class from most of what comes out of Hollywood today. It doesn't quite deserve five stars but if you've given it less than three then maybe mob movies aren't your thing anyway.
A cracking cast, all give fine performances. This is certainly the best thing I've seen Leonardo Decaprio do, by quite a margin. Jack Nicolson is in top form and there are some good smaller roles for both Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. Scorcese directs with the pace and panache that you've come to expect from the director of the five classics above.
It is a remake of the Hong Kong movie "Infernal Affairs", and Scorcese gives full credit to that movie in the credits. Lets not forget that many of the classics Scorcese directed above were influenced by earlier films (see The Public Enemy 1931 as a good example).
This is a hugely entertaining film and strongley recommended. ...more info
- The Departed, Undercover Hong Kong Knockoff
I am amazed that Hollywood can complain about bootlegging and movie pirating at one moment, and the next get away with a collosal ripoff of an acclaimed international success, stamp it unique and original, win several Academy Nominations, and give absolutely no credit to the source or inspiration of the film.
When, might you ask, has this ever happened? Not so very long ago actually. If one were to recall in 2006, a film entitled The Departed took the stage as one of the most successful box office hits in the world, grossing hundreds of millions of dollars, and jam-packed with an all-star Hollywood celebrity lineup.
Even reknowned critics at the time seemed oblivious to the fact that The Departed, directed by Scorsese, was in fact a blatant rehash of the Andrew Lau original, "Infernal Affairs". People who professed to know everything about films, hailed the movie as "another Scorsese achievement!"
Well, if all of Scorsese's other films were undisclosed remakes, then perhaps The Departed was an achievement. Putting integrity aside, the fact that he and his team got away with hundred of millions of dollars in revenue, and received some of the highest honors and most prestigious awards in the industry, all from a film largely adapted from another film, should certainly be considered an achievement of sorts, shouldn't it?
While I visualize the scene of this movie's inception in my mind, I can't help but be amused at how easily The Departed met with success. I imagine it happened something like this...
On one of Brad Pitt's whimsical excursions to the east, he sees Infernal Affairs for the first time. Next thing he knows, he's pitching the idea to Scorsese in the following paraphrase, "Hey Martin, I have this great screenplay I want to run by you." [Pitt summarizes the plot of Infernal Affairs, and Scorsese eats it up.] Then as an afterthought, Brad mentions the source of the idea. Scorsese reassures Pitt that noone would make the connection saying something like, "We don't really need to mention the original source. Hell, most people in this county wouldn't watch a foreign film if they were cast in it themselves." They both laughed at this... and kept laughing all the way to the bank.
Lately, Hollywood has been backing a string of Asian Market imitations or adaptations including, The Ring, The Grudge, Kill Bill (loosely adapted from Lady Snowblood), and yes, even the Lake House, actually derived from the Korean film, Il Mare. What does it say about the American Film Industry when many of our greatest modern film successes are based on original foreign screenplays? Well, firstly, it shows the world that Hollywood is getting short on ideas, and has little or no qualms about borrowing someone else's screenplay to compensate for its creative gap. Secondly, it reflects on the level of astuteness of the American audience -- that they know no better than to praise and endorse a film that has already been recently released in another country under a different name -- and finally the combination of these two things leads to the conclusion that we will continue to see many more of these foreign remakes to come. After all, if the money and public support is there, Hollywood directors and producers won't quit their [...] ways any time soon.
Although, I'd love to scream out to people, to go check out the foreign section of their local Blockbuster once in a while, with all my efforts, I can't possibly make everyone aware of what they are missing by limiting themselves to mainstream aisles. It's sad to see that Hollywood must thrive on this ignorance, but I can only hope that in the future, if I ever see a Kurosawa adaptation or remake, it won't be a Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt production.
- wow, was this movie bad!!!
the script felt at times like it was pieced together with a Mad Libs book... unsupported plot contrivances are thrown in at random, characters are poorly developed, relationships are unconvincing, and the last 10 minutes of the film were utterly incomprehensible. It's very difficult to understand how scorcese, with access to the best talent around, could put together such a mess. ...more info
- Great movie, but save a few bucks and buy the single disk edition.
The Departed is a great film. It has no less than 6 terrific performance, a gripping story, fantastic editing, and an engaging score. For just pure entertainment value it never dissapoints. It's not quite up there with Scorese's big three masterpieces--Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Taxi Driver--but I'd put it at the top of the second tier of Scorsese movies just ahead of The Aviator and underapreciated The Last Temptation of Christ.
However on special features the two disk set is lacking. The special features probably could have all fit on one disk with the movie pretty easily. There's some deleted scenes and a few very short featuretts. I got through all the special features in a very short time and nothing was very memorable. I've bought other Scorsese two disk sets like Ragining Bull and The Aviator and was definetly satisified with their special features. Those films even had commentary, which The Departed does not. Such a shame better treatmeant wasn't given to the movie that Scorsese finally won an Oscar for. Save a few bucks, buy the single disk edition. ...more info
- Jack's back, and Martin's got him...
Given the Academy's miserable recent record in selecting Best Film, I watched "The Departed" simply to see whether it was worth a nomination (let alone the Oscar it won). It was.
Scorsese was never an "in your face" director, but in "The Departed" he reaches a new level of disappearing altogether. (That's a compliment.) This film has "style", but one is not consciously aware of it. As with many great artists (think Fred Astaire or Miles Davis), Scorsese's work gets simpler as he matures. And "The Departed" is perhaps the most brilliantly edited film I've seen, its layered complexity complementing the acting and direction's simplicity. Thelma Schoonmaker richly deserved her Oscar.
The most-controversial element of "The Departed" is Jack Nicholson's performance, which, good though it is, seems rather more "emphatic" (shall we say) than the other performances.
Watching "Five Easy Pieces" on a flight more than thirty years ago, I heard two passengers arguing whether Jack Nicholson was a great actor, or simply "playing himself". My feeling is that he's a very good actor, but not in the top rank, because he seems incapable of disappearing into a role. We're always aware we're watching "Jack" -- not the character he's playing, however well-rendered. * Compare his work with Robert Duvall's or John Hurt's (see my review of "The Proposition"), and the gulf is plain.
Perhaps the fairest judgement of Nicholson's performance in "The Departed" is that it's neither good nor bad -- it's simply the sort of performance Scorsese wanted, and he cast Nicholson to get it.
"The Departed" is one of Scorsese's best films, but I wouldn't rank it above "GoodFellas" or "King of Comedy". If you're in the mood for a double feature, the last scene makes a great seque into "Ratatouille". Really.
* His worst performance is arguably in "Prizzi's Honor". He plays a dim-witted hood who comes across as a college-educated actor pretending to be a dim-witted hood....more info
- Not a Classic, but Enjoyable
You have probably already come to grips with the fact that when you go to see a new Scorsese film, it's not going to be another "Taxi Driver." Without the burden of comparison to classic Scorsese works, "The Departed" is an enjoyable thriller with an all-star cast, some of whom deliver better than others.
On the subject of the cast, there is, of course, Jack Nicholson as Costello. Nicholson is a master of playing characters which are simultaneously disgusting and compelling, and this role is no exception. There's lots of great dialog in this film for Nicholson.
On the other end of the scale is Matt Damon, who seems a little weak in this film. There are a number of moments in the film where he pulls out the Good Will Hunting, and you think to yourself "Oh Geez." I am a fan of Damon's, but this role did not seem to be a great fit.
Mark Wahlberg's role is a relatively minor one, but it is one of the film's highlights. He is excellent as the extremely vulgar and abusive Sgt. Dignam, of whom I wanted to see more.
The best part of the film, though, is Leonardo DiCaprio, who's central performance as Billy Costigan is excellent to the point that Matt Damon seems diminished in the complementary role of Colin Sullivan.
As for the plot, I am told that this film is a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film entitled "Infernal Affairs." It is the story of two moles; a police mole in the mob, and a mob mole in the police. The suspense lies in who will discover whom first.
If I had one major complaint about the film, it was that the script did not sufficiently (in my opinion) convey the motivation of DiCaprio's character. What motivated him to endure such a harrowing, dangerous, life-wrecking enterprise?
One last thing, I just remembered that Alec Baldwin is in the film, and he is quite good as well!...more info
- The Greatest American Film since Pulp Fiction
Martin Scorsese finally took home his first Academy Award for Best Director for "The Departed". With consummate skill he assembled bewilderingly complex and varied ingredients: performers, story, settings, photography - with the result being a film that grabs your attention in the first few moments and doesn't let up until the credits roll. The film clocks in at a minute less than 2 1/2 hours. With about 10 minutes left the Mrs. and I shared that we both needed a bathroom break after our half-gallon sodas... but neither of us dared leave.
The screenplay, I learn, was adapted by William Monahan from a Hong Kong script by Siu Fai Mak which was translated into English as "Internal Affairs". I also read that Mr. Scorsese didn't see the Chinese film but, rather, worked from an English translation of the "Internal Affairs" script. The story is a compelling narrative. Mr. Monahan has adapted the story to a Boston setting of Irish cops and gangsters. The dialog is full of sharp, witty one-liners, but also with a realistic, gritty ring of truth. The language reflects the setting of South Boston, not Sesame Street, so if your ears burn with the constant use of profanity - you may want to wait for an "edited for TV" version.
The cast is brilliant. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a sizzling performance as a Boston "Southie" who joins the police force at a tender age, but because of his family (his father was a local tough guy and his uncle a low level mobster)and intelligence(we're told he scored 1400 on his SAT - not usual police recruit material) he is recruited by a secret undercover unit to infiltrate the local mafia. We see him put through a grueling interview by his to-be superiors, Martin Sheen, full of paternal wisdom, and Mark Wahlberg, full of suspicions and vulgarities (but with many of the movie's best moments in a role that is no higher than maybe 5th or 6th billing.) At the same time DiCaprio is being recruited to infiltrate the mob, Matt Damon has been sent by the same mob to join the police force where, with his intelligence, etc, he is soon in a parallel secret unit investigating both his boss, Irish Mobster Frank Costello (in yet another defining performance by Jack Nicholson) and the "mole" who it is apparent has infiltrated the police force. (Among the many fine scenes are one where Damon gets to inform Nicholson that he is now leading the investigation to find - himself.)
Jack's performance is a Nicholson special. Frank Costello is a nearly untouchable sociopath. (The reason Costello is "ungettable" by the Massachusetts police force is one of dozens of intricate twists and sub-plots.) Costello is vulgar and menacing and everyone in Boston quakes in his presence, from local priests to the scariest hit men. The Mrs. and I differ in our opinion of whether the film revolves around Costello (her view), since all the other characters revolve around him and, after all, he's played by the great Jack Nicholson, or whether DiCaprio's Billy Costigan is the main character (my opinion), since he has the most screen time and, if this story has a protagonist, Costigan is it. It's enjoyable to discuss such things, but it's quibbling. "The Departed" has so many well-drawn characters breathed to life by stellar actors in brilliant performances that it could easily populate two *good* films!
Vera Farmiga was previously unknown to me, but she delivers in the only major female role as a police psychiatrist who graduated from Harvard, but takes the presumably lower-paying position because she wants to serve her community while she also helps her patients. In one of the trickiest roles of the film she becomes romantically attracted to both "moles", not knowing the "true identity" of either until the climax of the film. Her steely determination after she discovers that Matt Damon is the police department "rat" reminds me of Alida Valli's famous performance in "The Third Man" and her final scene in this movie (walking away from a funeral in a cemetery towards the camera in a single shot, completely ignoring the man who thinks he has romantic possibilities with her) is an obvious homage by Scorsese to Carol Reed's film classic.
Ray Winstone (as Costello's right-hand man, "Frenchie") and Alec Baldwin (as the over-matched police detective who is trying to bring together the various machinations of the Boston detectives and undercover mob infiltrators) lead the next tier of supporting performances. It's just another sign of the overall quality of Mr. Scorsese's picture that actors who would "star" in other films take on roles that in other films would be fleshed out by unknowns.
The plotting and timing are relentless. There are a half dozen scenes with more edge-of-your-seat white-knuckle tension than a hundred chainsaw and machete wielding madmen movies combined. DiCaprio's performance brings home the fear that the character must have constantly been feeling. If discovered, he would certainly be killed by Costello's mobsters in a way that would serve as an example. The film ends, I think, as it must, and it's fair to say it's a Noir ending and not a "Hollywood" ending. Over the weeks leading up to this year's Academy Awards this film will be praised more than the last 25 films nominated for "Best Picture" combined. All the praise and hoopla will make "The Departed" and it's various investors a lot of money. This makes me wonder - if great films like this are profitable, why bother with the other 99% of brainless dreck that shows up at my local cineplex every week? Just wondering. ...more info
- Thankfully Over
I just kept waiting for this movie to be over. It was agonizingly long, there were no redeeming characters, and shooting everyone in the movie in the head got a little repetitive. This is an excellent example of how just because you have big names involved in the movie, it doesn't automatically make the movie good. I wish I could have those fwe hours I wasted watching this movie back....more info
- I had such consideration...
...for Martin Scorcese that I feel very sorry for his precocious senility. I can't think of any other explanation (there is no excuse) for mistaking di Caprio for an actor (which is about as ludicrous as mistaking McDos for restaurants). And, since he's persisting in polluting the screens with something whose only merit is he never will be a "Has Been" (since he never was anything in the first place), from now on I will keep clear from Scorcese's movies....more info
- Take the phones off the hook tell the wife to go to bed
This is one hellova boys night in movie . All the main leads are great & the twists & turns , music , chases , one liners made me give this 5stars without hesitation .
A special nod to Ray Winstone - you guys over your side of pond won't know much of him but he has rocked in many such 'hard man' roles . Well done Ray on another topnotch turnout especially as you were up against 'Jack' .
But Q - WAS the bad guy who got shot in the stomach & knew Leonardo was the rat , a policeman . If not why didn't he tell the others .....think Mr Brown in Reservoir Dogs lying in a pol of blood here ....more info