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The Departed Movie Poster

The Departed

Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by
: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin
Released by: Warner Bros.

In Short: Director Martin Scorsese adds to his impressive resumé with this modern American film masterpiece of crime and punishment.

Oscar Season Begins
Scorsese Directs Another Masterpiece
by Jenny Peters

If you’re of the school that Martin Scorsese is one of America’s finest directors (based on films like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” and “The Aviator” for starters) then run, don’t walk, to the first showing of “The Departed.” For with this incredible film, the 63-year-old auteur cements his position as the best in Hollywood—despite the fact that he’s never won an Academy Award during his more than 40 years in the business (he’s been nominated five times).

Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed
Jack Nicholson in The Departed

But Scorsese should finally win for this film, as his insightful, brutal look at modern-day Boston’s cops and criminals truly is a tour de force. A complex story of that city’s police joining with the FBI in an attempt to take down a powerful Irish mob boss, “The Departed” begins with a beautifully structured screenplay and ends with a series of images that moviegoers will never forget.

In between, a troupe of incredible actors breathes intense life into the somewhat-based-on-truth tale. From Jack Nicholson’s extremely believable (and distinctly creepy) turn as crime czar Frank Costello to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan, an on-the-edge undercover cop who infiltrates his organization, the film is packed with Oscar-caliber performances. Matt Damon shines as Colin Sullivan, a seemingly straight-arrow police officer; Mark Wahlberg leaps off the screen as the toughest in a crew of very tough cops; and Alec Baldwin gives a powerful supporting performance as a good-old-boy crimestopper who lets his fists do his talking.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Sheen in The Departed
Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg in The Departed

And it goes right on down the line to the smallest bit player, for Scorsese has cast his film perfectly and then that talented group loose to inhabit the dark underworld of Beantown’s mean streets. But it isn’t just the acting that makes “The Departed” such a compelling film; the themes of honor, truth, betrayal and revenge among men are interwoven with striking visuals and a perfect soundtrack. They create a whole that is so emotionally wrenching—and fascinating—that you’ll be thinking about “The Departed” long after you’ve, well, departed the theater.

Look for a slew of nominations for this film as it is undoubtedly the one to beat thus far this awards season. And if Scorsese doesn’t win the Best Director Oscar for this masterpiece of a movie, it will definitely be a crime.

(Updated 08/30/07 NJ)

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