Frank Costello is running South Boston and we get an in-depth look within his crew which has an undercover cop but he has a mole within the police, as both men attempt to identify the other!
The Departed starts as it means to go on with the opening section of the film taking over twenty minutes before we get to see the title of the film on screen, with Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones fitting so well within it. This sets the scene of Costello and how he first meets Colin Sullivan as a kid and his very quick rise through the police ranks. Then on the other side we have Billy Costigan who didn’t come from the best background and despite becoming a cop he is constantly told that he will never be a cop, he then agrees to work deep undercover. To make it believable he spends time in prison. So everything about the deep plot of both sides is laid out for us to watch unfold.
The way everything is nicely set up we are rooting for Billy so badly that we feel his anxiety and fear when he begins to get closer to Costello. Trying to keep in contact with Queenan and Dignam, who are in charge of the undercover cops. They do not reveal to anyone who these men are, which considering they know moles exist within the police they cannot take any chances. The way both men put themselves across is very different Queenan more like a protective father who will not give anything up. Then we have Dignam who is a man very much with a chip on his shoulder and pretty much hates everyone and everything.
Colin has worked his way up in the Boston police force extremely quickly gaining promotion after promotion. Obviously not looking to make any friends on the way of eventually looking for himself the mole! He is one slimy man that is for sure, something that makes you dislike him scene by scene when you see how easy lying is for him. Meeting psychiatrist Madolyn and starting a relationship with her, not knowing about any of the work she does with cops. You guessed it she knows Billy rather well!
The thing with Billy and Colin they are pretty much the same person just on the opposite side, I feel that makes it all even more interesting when seeing how things are then going to work out for them. I will not contain any spoilers to how it ends but once the film hits a certain point the body count on both sides shoots up and up. Creating the tension at the right time and managing to have some rather shocking moments as well.
I can still remember seeing this film at the cinema and being blown away by it all honesty. I had never really seen anything on this scale on the big screen before, which I guess was not really surprising considering that up until this film I probably hadn’t really seem many 18s on the big screen. Since then I have lost count how many times I have watched and throughly enjoyed this film.
The performances are quite frankly outstanding and it’s pretty hard to decide on the stand out as they are all that good. Leonardo DiCaprio gave Billy an edgy appearance and constantly made you feel for him. Overall he was a nice guy trying to do the right thing and be regarded as a cop. Matt Damon played Colin in the best possible manner managing to get the annoying traits to wind you up constantly. Then we get Jack Nicholson who is incredible as Costello, he was pretty much allowed to do whatever he wanted when they were filming and I think that creates some rather interesting moments. Who can ever wipe the rat scene from their memory? Mark Wahlberg is aggressive and over the top as Dignam, but in a good way as someone who cares about doing his job right! Vera Farmiga is in the biggest female role and I feel she is given a very interesting role of playing both sides really well.
In terms of the smaller support the cast is then completed by Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone (maybe don’t mention his attempted Boston accent right?) and Alec Baldwin. All three actors adding to many scenes and aiding the performances from the other members of the cast. Everyone wants to be in a Scorsese picture don’t they! They all appear very well on screen and adds to the enjoyment of the film.
Winner of Best Picture as well as director for Martin Scorsese (eventually right) as well as adapted screenplay and editing. With Mark Wahlberg nominated in supporting role. The success was something Scorsese didn’t really think was possible given the violence, subject matter and rating. Personally I feel that makes it being a Best Picture Winner even better!