Movie Reviews: The Departed




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     Warner Bros. Pictures
     Two undercover cops are dispatched to infiltrate the ranks of a Boston mob boss.
     Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

Picture all your favorite flicks dealing with organized crime and police corruption all meshed into one, throw in a handful of first-rate actors and the result is a fascinating and engaging thriller full of twist and turns.

Damon and DiCaprio play two undercover cops working for the Massachusetts State Police Department. Damon’s character, Colin Sullivan, has been groomed for his fast rising career as a special agent by the powerful Irish mob boss Frank Costello played by Nicholson. Naturally, he’s Costello’s inside snitch tipping him off at every stop along the way and alerting him each time the police are about to make a raid. DiCaprio’s character, Billy Costigan, is also undercover working for another division of the Special Investigation Unit, but as one of Costello’s henchman. He also regularly tips off his captain Oliver Queenan (Sheen) to any of Costello’s criminal activities. Confused? A quick recap, the police have inserted a spy into the local branch of organized crime, and the crime kingpin Costello has inserted a spy in the police department. The twist? Neither of the cops knows about the other, so things get even racier when each snitch becomes aware that there is another snitch on the opposite side. It's not long before everyone figures out something’s amiss and it becomes nothing short of climatic as both cops on opposite sides of the law scramble to discover the identity of the other.

Beautifully crafted, "The Departed" is based on the 2002 thriller "Infernal Affairs," but it’s far more engaging and differs slightly with its range of characters. The humor is smart, quick and crude and the flick reverting from start to finish with the characters surprisingly cool and amazingly effective. Nicholson as the quirky Irish crime boss who is no longer in the game for the money is reminiscent of his comical character in "The Witches of Eastwick" complete with farcical facial expressions, crass lingo but with a quick trigger finger. Granted his accent isn’t all that convincing, he still make a brilliant and charismatic kingpin. Damon as the roguish cop reprises his character from "The Bourne Identity," whilst DiCaprio as his undercover counterpart delivers several emotionally charged scenes. Farmiga plays the psychiatrist Madolyn who specializes with dealing with people on both sides of the law and serves as the bridge between DiCaprio and Damon’s character, and Anderson has a smaller role as an agent working on Damon’s force.

"The Departed" is a definite classic from the legendary director Martin Scorsese who has a long history of decent movie making. This time, however, he raises the temperature with explosive, emotionally charged performances and plenty of climatic action. Despite two and half hours of screen time, there’s enough tension to keep you engrossed. With a plot more twisted than a pretzel, this one has the Scorsese stamp of approval.



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