‘The Departed’ (2006)

'The Departed' (2006) Unexpected. Totally f^cking unexpected. Yanqui-fications of foreign movies usually aren’t very good.

I’d been a fan of Martin Scorcese throughout the ’80′s – Taxi Driver , Raging Bull , The King of Comedy , The Last Temptation of Christ , Goodfellas , Cape Fear — and everything else he did up until the point that his chosen lead became Leonardo diCaprio and his ethnicity of choice became WASP. So, imagine my surprise at actually enjoying ‘The Departed’, a film that name-checks both categories of my dislike and sports a title that does nothing to inform either the theme or action of the story.

Pretty boy DiCaprio has had a career that I’ve long regarded as an accident of River Phoenix’s early death. His ‘celebrity’, AFAIWC , was just repellent and misplaced. I’ve never seen anything special in his work, nor in his appearance. To me, he has only ever been River Phoenix’s stand-in.

But here, it was the star-power of the supporting players and the reviews of this one got me into the theater. If it stank, the critics of RotttenTomatoes.com would say so, as they tend to delight in scorning expensive and ambitious failures. With an all-star cast, Scorcese at the helm, and no critic riots, at worst, it could only be slightly disappointing.

But this was good. Surprising, considering that the film is technically an American remake of a Chinese B-movie, Infernal Affairs (2002), an Andy Lau movie about a cop and a gangland mole that go undercover in each others’ territory.

Rather than the typical New York–Las Vegas circuit of Scorcese’s films, ‘The Departed’ takes place in Boston, among the Police and the Irish mafia. Scorcese has somehow gotten an entire roster of A-list, Oscar-calibre actors to fill his supporting roles – Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg all check their egos here. Besides, Matt Damon is in this movie, and who can ever really hate Damon?

I’m too lazy to go into the specifics of the story and the performance, so this is going to be a thin and flimsy review: Just think of it as a ‘Goodfellas’-type of movie, without the comfort of voice-overs. Even at two hours and 29 minutes, the writing is razor-sharp and the performances just as entertaining. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sit up in you seat when… but that would be a spoiler.

Why it’s titled ‘The Departed’, I have no clue, but see this movie to see Jack Nicholson as an Irish Mob Boss, Martin Sheen as a Police Captain, Damon as a bad guy and to see DiCaprio’s career finaly lose all of the baby-fat (because this movie isn’t going to be traded on the cover of Tiger Beat ).

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

One Response to “‘The Departed’ (2006)”

  1. Its called the departed Victor because in the words of John Maynard Keynes in the long, run we are all dead as you and I will discover.

    Irish death cults have a rationality all its own that comes across in these kind of films since Victor MacCleggan and she wore a yellow ribbon.

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