The Departed

Right lets get a few things straight this is not the performance of Jack Nicholson’s career (although its good), it is not the return to form we were hoping for from Scorsese and neither Matt Damon nor Leonardo Decaprio are that convincing as the two main cops. All that aside this isn’t that bad a film, there are moments of Scorsese magic, there is a stellar cast including Ray Winstone, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin to name a few of the excellent actors here, it has a great soundtrack and a killer script. Sadly it is a bit too long and not as good as ‘Internal Affairs’ on which it is based. Where it does shine it really is very bright but the flaws hold it back too much to be a career high for anyone involved, it is a lazy ‘Goodfellas’ at best and a Snatch/Lock Stock hybrid at worst. The casting of Matt and Leo (neither of which I rate as actors) as the rookie cops is an inspired take on the original story but the fact that in Internal Affairs the two cops trying to rat each other out had been on the force for so long gave the film a gravitas that just isn’t here. A rather flimsy tentative connection is hinted at by a love interest they both find themselves sharing but it never goes anywhere, in fact her character just kind of disappears out of the plot leaving unanswered questions. Essentially the script highlights, apart from Nicholson, come from the banter between Baldwin and Wahlberg as the two department heads set with the task of bringing down Costello (Nicholson) but neither having access to each others resources. Being a rare 18 certificate means that Scorsese can still get graphic if needs be and he does. There are laughs, winces and tension and enough twists to keep your head spinning. Scorsese has also embraced the technological revolution and made mobiles and texting a prevalent form of communication between the cops and the bad guys and especially for the moles to sneak out info. Without spoiling the end or any of the really good bits I cant really say anymore, just that this is an ok film, not brilliant by Scorsese’s earlier standards but worth seeing none the less, certainly the best he’s done for a while.
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