Sunday, 20 November 2011
The Departed 
Martin Scorsese seemed to have been losing his touch through most of the 90’s and 2000’s (the documentary No Direction Home was perhaps the sole exception). With The Departed he made a spectacular return to the kind of high-voltage and pulsating gangster movies he last attempted with Goodfellas and Casino. Gritty, edgy, hyper-violent, unabashedly profane, terrific use of background score, the city playing a vital role in character-building – it sure seemed like a work by the Marty of the old. An American rendition of the popular Hong Kong undercover-cop thriller Infernal Affairs – the movie is set in the Irish-Catholic milieu of Boston. The labyrinthine plot goes as follows: Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), who’s freshly out of the police academy, is coaxed by his bosses (Martin Sheen and Mark Whalberg) into becoming a “rat” in the outfit of the psychotic and powerful mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson); meanwhile Collin Sullivan (Matt Damon), who was handpicked at a young age by Costello, has managed to infiltrate the Boston police force; and thus starts an arresting game of cat-and-mouse. A tale of shifting and dubious loyalties and identities, this compelling and visceral character-study is reminiscent of the kind of gang violence and street justice Scorsese unforgettably portrayed in Mean Streets. Nearly everything worked for the movie – powerhouse performances by the superlative ensemble cast, kinetic and near-flawless script filled with darkly funny irony, exceptional editing (the movie managed to proceed at a frenetic pace without ever resorting to over-editing), great buildup of mood and tension – thus making this, the cover version, far superior than the original itself.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Genre: Crime Thriller/Gangster Film/Ensemble Film