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The Departed (2006)

Cops or Criminals. When you're facing a loaded gun what's the difference?

Directed by:

Martin Scorsese

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 151 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18


I don’t really see the point of Hollywood remakes of already excellent international offerings. They just seem to be for people who can’t be bothered to read or those who feel that watching foreign films is pretentious. A case in point is Vanilla Sky – not only does Penolope Cruz play exactly the same character as she did in the Spanish original but she waps her boobs out exactly the same point in both. Sorry, I’m digressing. The Departed is a remake of sorts that really doesn’t deviate from the original but somehow it feels worth it as it exudes a class that comes from the direction of Martin Scorsese and a quality cast.

Following the same basic plot as Infernal Affairs, mob boss Frank Costello (Nicholson) has his adopted son Colin Sullivan (Damon) infiltrate the Massachusetts State Police to give him a man on the inside. Simultaneously, the sneaky cops put one of their own – Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) undercover in the Irish Mafia to finally get the evidence they need to nail Costello and his crew. As Sullivan moves up the ranks and Costigan falls deeper in with the Irish Mafia time is running out before one or the other will be found out with dire consequences.

As you’d expect from the guys involved, the acting is top class and elevates The Departed above a run-of-the-mill cop thriller. Jack Nicholson gives a real tour de force as the unhinged mob boss, Leonardo Di Caprio goes through the acting mill and Matt Damon consolidates things with a solid unfancy role. Mark Wahlberg is lucky to get all the best lines as the foul-mouthed abusive Detective and only Ray Winstone lets the side down (again) as he attempts an American accent with his native Cockney blazing through – what would have been wrong with James Gandolfino? Borderline racist comment regarding the cast – to Western eyes the duplicity throughout the film will be much easier to follow than it’s Korean counterpart. Just saying.

Scorsese gets the atmosphere just right with a stylish, simple direction that avoids going too street or fancy. The perfectly picked soundtrack, including The Rolling Stones and The Dropkick Murphys, and a host of fantastic quotes are music to the ears. Simply, it’s Scorsese doing what he does best.

It's Got: Twists and turns, excellent performances, a god awful American accent from Winstone

It Needs: To be seen as well as, not instead of, Infernal Affairs.

DVD Extras A trailer, deleted scenes and three very worthy feauretettes including 'The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed', 'Scorsese on Scorcese' and 'Crossing Criminal Cultures' - a great package DVD Extras Rating: 9/10


For once it’s a remake of an excellent international offering that seems worth it thanks to Scorsese doing what he does best and a wonderful ensemble cast.

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