Friday, October 27, 2006

The Departed

Title: The Departed (2006)
Dir: Martin Scorcese
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

Apparently I'm the only person who doesn't think The Departed was 2006's best film, but it is a great film nonetheless. Scorcese delivers all the intense mob drama and gritty violence you expect, and the movie boasts one hell of a cast. Don't make the mistake of thinking Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg are just pretty faces. They are in top form here.

The Departed is about two undercover informants - one infiltrating the NYPD (Damon) and the other investigating the Irish mob (DiCaprio). While the police attempt to take down an untouchable mob boss (Jack Nicholson), the two rats gradually become aware of one another and try to take the other out. A lot of blood ensues.

Wahlberg portrays a tough cop, and the only one who suspects Damon. He has the best lines of the film and steals almost every scene he's in. Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin also turn scene-stealing performances as police officers determined to bring down the mob.

The performances are what really make this film. DiCaprio's constant fear of being exposed and killed keeps the audience on edge. The movie provides some great feuds between DiCaprio and Damon, Wahlberg and Damon, and Sheen and Nicholson. Watching these actors face off is very exciting. Baldwin and Wahlberg also bring some dark comedy to the film's heavy-handed story.

As with most crime dramas, the plot gets complicated at times, but it's nothing you can't sort out by the end. There are some twists and turns you might love or hate - but either way, you'll never see them coming.

I regret not seeing The Departed a second time, as I probably would've liked it even more. It didn't wow me like some other films this year, but it's definitely a top-10'er and sure to garner lots of Oscar buzz. Don't miss it.