Skip to main content

The Departed

I've seen bits of The Departed maybe once or twice, but I've never seen the whole movie until recently. The inkling to see it definitely paid off, as I was treated to a work with growing momentum, great performances and a smashing finale. It wasn't just a good cop, bad cop movie, but the characters had an identity that became their facade for deception, and they were a deceiving bunch indeed. 

The film focuses on Colin Sullivan and Billy Costigan, two state cops that came from contrasting backgrounds. Sullivan had a stellar record, and was very commendable and in cases, quite lucky, as he always seemed to nab the right guy, hence his rise in ranks. Costigan, on the other hand, was already at the bad side of the force, coming from a criminal background, which makes him being a cop already dubious. However, these two could have gone farther from the truth. While Costigan is living a quiet life, taking care of his mother and just dutifully being a cop, Sullivan is Frank Costello’s protege, a mole in the system. When a case against Costello opens up, the undercover unit sends in Costigan to infiltrate, while Sullivan uses his resources to get Costello out of trouble. However, both were in a surprise when certain information is revealed, and the two start to play a game of cat and mouse, each digging deeper to find the rat in their respective field. 

I found the movie to be smartly written. The characters have enough history to keep you speculating about their motives, as well as using that history and information as an element of the unexpected. Looking back, there were scenes that were complete foreshadowing of what would happen next, or would reveal substantial information about a character. I also found the film a bit lengthy for my taste, but its length paved way for knowing and understanding the motives behind the characters, particularly who they really are and what they really stand for. Usual crime movies don’t really have complex characters, but the two cops were written in such a way that anything could happen, and that their actions were not anticipated.  

What enhanced the film besides the script and its plot, are the actors involved. Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t failed to give a convincing performance of a cop who has risked his life on the line and trying to prove himself to the point of no return. His character struggled on where he allowed himself to let his guard down, or not be swayed away, or to remove suspicion off himself when he was being doubted. His character might only play secondary to Matt Damon, but he does not fail to convince that while Damon is the one wearing the badge, DiCaprio is the one we should root for. I also have to hand it to Jack Nicholson. The man played the part well, and I could not imagine another actor taking on the role. His character was unpredictable as well, which made the final moments of the film make sense. Another actor whose performance I appreciated was surprisingly, Mark Walhberg’s. He stole the scenes he was in, whether he was interrogating DiCaprio or giving Damon the finger. 

It boils down to a surprising feat in the end. I did not expect the finale to occur in such a way; it was certainly unexpected and yet a wonderful finish. Scorsese has delivered a fine film with great performances that never loses its feat. 

Final Word: Albeit its length, The Departed is more than just a cop film; it launches characters with depth and dimensions, set in a world where the situation is deemed possible. It's highly entertaining, with the finale sure to amaze you.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
Director: Martin Scorsese
Year: 2006


  1. This flick never gets old and always allows you to pick-out something new or cool that spins the movie around, in an ever so slightly way. But that's just what you get from a Scorsese flick, and that's why he deserved the Oscar for this. Good review.

    1. The final act was what got me, it wasn't expected. It was very good. I think I'd have to see it again sometime.


Post a Comment