The Departed (DVD)

If heads is ‘guts’ and tails is ‘glory’, then Martin Scorsese has obviously been dealt a dud coin in recent years, because he’s been flipping nothing but bottoms.


Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin

If heads is ‘guts’ and tails is ‘glory’, then Martin Scorsese has obviously been dealt a dud coin in recent years, because he’s been flipping nothing but bottoms.

Now, after all the bank and acclaim that he generated with “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator”, the one-time cinematic rebel returns to shovel some steaming hot coals back into the cinematic fire.

And how “The Departed” burns bright.

The veteran director returns to trying to please an audience again, rather than ‘Academy Members’, and the result is a scrumptiously thrilling epic the likes of which we haven’t seen since De Niro sold his soul to comedy and DePalma stopped making gangster pictures.

Costello (Jack Nicholson) is the mob boss. Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is a member of the crook’s pack who has infiltrated the FBI. And Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a tortured young police officer whose been persuaded to go undercover as a member of Costello’s homicidal herd. Naturally, both Sullivan and Costigan discover that their respective troupes are housing a rat – and both seek an I.D.

There’s a reason the film isn’t being advertised as a remake of Hong Kong hit “Infernal Affairs” and that’s because, it isn’t – well, it is, but they’re about as close as second cousins twice removed. Scorsese has merely taken the blueprint for the acclaimed film of the same name, and extracted its detail with his own – resulting in a film that plays as fresh as any original piece. And if not more so at times.

This thing has got more guts than John Goodman I tell ya – it’s gritty, it’s compelling, it’s powerful, it’s surprising, it’s mesmerising, it’s gold! Gold! Gold! You’re arse is usually asking for an ice-pack after sitting through a two-and-a-half hour movie, but in this case, it’s as cosy as the actors are on screen, and by golly you wish it would just prolong.
Scorsese has crafted some of the most interesting and compelling characters to grace a vanilla screen in quite some, and coupled with the amazing performances of the actors, Nicholson’s smug mob boss, DiCaprio’s flustered hero, Damon’s morally-conflicted crook, Martin Sheen’s benevolent captain, Alec Baldwin’s decadent lunatic fed and Mark Wahlberg’s indifferent gung-ho agent will be remembered for awards shows to come – as the movie hopefully will be too.

“The Departed” isn’t just a return to form for Scorsese – let’s admit it, his recent efforts have been good, but not this good – it’s one of the finest films of his career, and one of the best movies of the year… if not the decade.

There’s a two-disc special edition on offer – with oodles and oodles of extras – but unfortunately we were only sent the 1-disc version… and that includes zip.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris