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The Departed
Posted to Movies at 04:01 PM on Mar 14, 2007

2006. Warner Bros. Pictures. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, and Jack Nicholson.

Why does Jack Nicholson keep getting work? I don't understand. How does someone who has done varying degrees of his awful, smirky scenery-chewing routine for thirty-odd years still get jobs? Paul Sorvino isn't in films anymore. He probably wasn't busy. What about Robert DeNiro? I can't imagine that Scorsese wasn't even the tiniest bit eager to work with DeNiro again.

This is what was going through my mind during roughly half of The Daparted. During the other half, I was comparing it to Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong thriller upon which it was based. Infernal Affairs is a pretty great movie. The beginning is a little confusing and I'd have liked it to be a tiny bit longer, but, honestly, I loved it.

Well, The Departed is a lot less confusing and much, much longer. It's also got Leonardo DiCaprio in it, which is a good sign.

In a nutshell: psycho crime boss Frank Costello (Nicholson) plants one of his men (Damon) in the Boston police department to spy on them. A screw-up academy drop-out (DiCaprio) is sent into Costello's camp, to spy on them. DiCaprio and Damon try to outwit and elude each other.

It's actually the supporting actors who do a lot of the work, I think. Wahlberg is bizarre and funny as an abusive cop and British actor Ray Winstone is great as one of Costello's stoolies.

It's probably unfair to compare The Departed to Infernal Affairs. Scorsese took the story and made it his own. We know Costello a little better than we know Sam, his counterpart. Several scenes are shot-by-shot copies, but I felt like Scorsese was trying to tell the story in a different way, with the characters possessing different motivations.

It's well worth your time. But you really should see the original first.


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