The Departed continues filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s trend of making at least one motion picture masterpiece per decade–this time, winning an Oscar.
Even though the film adapts a story from another country, the filmmakers still find a way to tie it to Boston. This is one of the best ideas to go into the film. For all intents and purposes, mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is Whitey Bulger. Basically, the film deals with crime and moles. Costello has his mole in the form of SIU officer Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). The Boston Police Department has their mole by having rookie cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) going undercover with Costello’s people. Costigan may have grown up in crime but he also has the harder job here in winning over Frank’s trust. All to the benefit of handlers Capt. Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Sgt. Sean Dignam (Mark Wahlberg). This is really all you need to know.
What makes this film all the more thrilling is that nobody suspects Sullivan of being a mole. This is how much trust is placed upon his shoulders! Whereas the only people who place their trust in Costigan from the beginning are his handlers. After all, they’re the only people who know what he’s assigned to do.
William Monahan’s Oscar-winning screenplay adapts a Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs. The film ultimately scored four Oscar wins (Picture, Director, Editing, Adapted Screenplay). Mark Wahlberg was the sole nominee to lose in his category. What’s perhaps the most surprising is that The Departed marked Scorsese’s first-ever win for Directing. It also isn’t a stretch to say that this is his career Oscar. A long overdue win if you ask me. Or anyone else for that matter.
DiCaprio reteams with Scorsese for the third time. He manages to deliver one of the best performances of his career. All in all, the film’s casting is superb.
Martin Scorsese is one of America’s greatest filmmakers. Through this year, the filmmaker has nine Oscar nominations to his name for directing. This is certainly an amazing feat in its own right. Only William Wyler would earn more nominations during his career. Not many filmmakers are able to say that they’ve made one masterpiece per decade but Scorsese is able to say this. The fact that Scorsese didn’t win for Goodfellas will certainly go down in history as one of the Academy’s worst decisions ever.
Scorsese’s third collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio also manages to result in one of the greatest gangster films of all time. At least among the ones I’ve watched in my lifetime.
DIRECTOR: Martin Scorsese
SCREENWRITER: William Monahan
CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin