Sunday, April 12, 2009

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Movie Review: The Departed (2006)

One question whose answer remains doubtful in the movie is - Whose baby was it? I put my money on Leo Caprio - whats your take... :-)

The movie is rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material - The review is rated only PG-13 :D

When the stakes are high, Insurance is everything! And when you are a mole for the police in the mafia that already has a mole in the police - you can never have enough insurance!

A quick review of the movie would be that it was released in 2006 and it won 4 Oscars in 2007 for Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Editing, Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing- Adapted Screenplay. Mark Wahlberg was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. These awards alone would be reason enough to watch this movie. For a complete list of awards, pls see

Even with a cast like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga can you be sure the movie will be good? Not unless you have a director like Martin Scorsese putting it all together.

The plot is simple. The Irish Mafia and the Massachusetts State Police both have their moles in each other’s organization. The execution is complex - this is where the movie won its Oscars. The irony shown in the story is superlative - Leonardo Caprio (William M.’Billy’ Costigan Jr.) comes from a crime family that he hates, so its relatively easy for him to penetrate the mafia. hailing from a rich family, he hates his roots so much that he prefers to join the police even if it means leading a life of poverty and hardship. Matt Damon (Det. SSgt. Colin Sullivan) hails from a poor family and since he was a kid, he has been granted numerous favors by the mafia don who treats him like a son - even he joins the police force, but not to serve and protect, but to act as a mole for the Irish crime boss - Played by Jack Nicholson - flamboyant, gutsy, crafty, womanising drug dealer, Frank’s character shows considerable amount of flair that suits his role as an Irish mafia boss. His character is the one to watch out for in the movie - even after so many years, he still has tremendous screen presence and will entertain you in his inimitable style. The casting was perfect as Billy, played by Caprio was cast along side Frank, because Matt Damon certainly could not have played Billy’s character as convincingly and craftily and stood up against a capricious Frank as well as Leonardo did.

But for me, it was Mark Wahlberg as Det. SSgt. Dignam and Martin Sheen as Det. Capt. Oliver Queenan who impressed me much. Together they both played the good cop - bad cop extremely well with Dignam constantly teasing and taunting Billy to keep the fire alive in Billy when he gets tired after living a dual life as a mole. At those times, Queenan plays a father figure in Billy’s life and earns his trust convincingly. Credits to Mr. Scorsese for showing this scene, along with many others, in a few frames that would take 3-4 pages of intense writing for a good author to aptly describe. Indeed, if The Departed were a novel written by a dead author, the writer would be lying peacefully in his grave knowing that justice has been done to the book thru this movie!

All the actors - again, thanks to Scorsese’s direction - get into the skin of their characters, which makes this movie almost like watching a 5 star rated play on the screen. But as this is a movie with opportunities of retakes, it cannot be given 5 stars by me - even though the director is good enough to be compared with other top dogs competing alongside him. I say that because I have seen better directors in Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrik who have managed to satiate the film-freak in me more than Mr. Scorsese did. I cannot help but place The Departed next to Pulp Fiction and it manages go neck to neck with it in terms of entertainment, repeat value and suspense (that in itself is a big compliment to this movie). However, the suspense in The Departed is very tautly managed - I was watching it for the second time, and yet the movie seemed very fresh to me and the ending gave me immense satisfaction - which is why I chose the opening of this review carefully.

The sound editing, the film editing, the screenplay, the casting, the art-direction, the special effects is all top notch - the movie makes all these aspects stand out. The spray of blood shown during executions is very realistic as is the sound of guns being fired during a fight. The "popping" sound of the fire exchange changes when heard thru the police radio - excellent attention to details! Eyes used to convey the lust and lunacy of a mafia boss in a scene was shown extremely well without making the scene gross or showing excessive skin. The craftiness and complexity shown in the only strong female character in the movie was superb (played by Vera Farmiga) - credits to Mr. Scorsese for handling the emotions and the on-screen passion very well and tastefully. The change in the face of a tired and exhausted pill-popping mole Billy is very much noticeable, thanks to the make-up that was done just right.

All in all, this is a brilliant piece of movie making that can be watched over and over every couple of months and it’ll keep entertaining you - but as I had already seen movies like Pulp Fiction and A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrik) that were made ages ago this movie, I cannot give The Departed a 5 star rating - It still gets a stellar rating of 9.8/10 - definitely worth keeping in the collection of all movie connoisseurs!

!! Spike !!

PS: This review is dedicated to my very good friends Lalit (MS id - bildebej) and Ipsi (MS id - ipshonlu) for our Italian discussions that sparked the writing of this review - cheers mates !

Note: This review was originally written by me here. I watched the movie again today and that gave me the perfect opportunity to use my best friends, copy and paste to migrate it to my blog. I'll be moving my stuff from the old site to the blog as and when time permits.


Serendipity said...

Oh man. This was one helluva movie.
I own this one too :D

It took me two mins to figure out which ne u were talknig abut though :) since the topic dint indicate it..

Have u seen Fight Club. its one of my FAVORITES. cult movie, with kickass dialogues no?

Vee said...

Haha, I went there to see what I had commented (if I had commented) and I indeed was there.. Lol, I went in there after quite some time..

Anyways, This is one of the finest movies of Leo but since then he has done some good stuff.

The good cop-bad cop angle is well said by you...I do not know how justifiable it is to put it next to Pulp Fiction but surely not 5 star for reasons understandably mentioned by you.

mystiquedew said...

hmm..yeppers fer vee, not in league wid the brilliant Pulp fiction - that kinda mindless violence is un-beatable..

but yea, this one was a good 'un!

eye-in-sty-in said...

hi B,
Nice taste you have. There, the title has been changed to include the movie name.

hi Vee and Mystique,
Yeah, this one was penned in my second stint there, so you wd have been in the comments section.

I still liked watching it for the 4th time... The movie managed to hold my attention even after the commercial breaks, which I found were too irritating :-)
It may not be a Pulp Fiction, you both say, but even if Scorcese wanted to make it like a pulp fiction, he could not have done that - as it was already done. So scorcese was brilliant in his own right... besides, there is this little caveat - my revu was already penned and it had to be verbatim :P

Hi Dew, Now to reply the line in ur comment different from Vee's - If you like mindless violence, you ought to watch Deathproof! 2 words - Quentein Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez! Your disappearance was indeed mystical!

Angel's Flight said...

Ur good friends did friend!

couchpapaya said...

i feel the same - good, but not great movie! but ur review was wonderful in it's detail! i think the problem with the movie also was that it was one more at a time when there were loads of movies on mobsters and spies, atleast when it released i felt so. i dont think i can rewatch this one, unlike something like untouchables which i can watch every time it screens!! my favs were leo and wahlberg.

avdi said...

I liked the movie. I guess I need a repeat viewing too. I started a separate blog for my writings from MS. But then got tired of cutting and pasting.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Angel,
Thanks for introducing us ;-)

Hi CP,
"Almost great" is what I thnk of it :-) Am glad u enjoyed the revu. now there is another movie to be watched by me! I have not seen "The Untouchables" so cannot comment on the comparision. The cast of the movie does sound interesting! let me reserve it.

Hi Ava,
I did need to watch it atleast twice - Couldn't understand the whole story with my megere intelligence level... lolz

Thanks for commenting.

eye-in-sty-in said...

I too thought of a different blog, but then it was hard enough to manage one :-)

Vyzz said...

that was one awesome movie..adn i really liked leonardo in he's so true.

aggressive, sensitive, frail.

anyway, wat a movie eh..kept me on teh edge of teh seat..thruout..



eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Vyo,

Leo totally outshined Matt Damon.. Jack was at his usual best... He is totally awesomely insanely best! (the rat imitation, when he comes back and sniffs leo in the bar) I was on the edge of the seat even when I watched it for the 4th time. lolz

Shayari said...

Hi EISI-Spike,

Hmmm lot of catching up to do..
This movie as well with the upcoming MS reviews..Good hain:-)

eye-in-sty-in said...

Hi Shayari,

yeah - when the brain's dead, migration comes in handy :P

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