Quick recap: The film takes place in Boston, where a big time mobster-Frank Costello- owns the place. He does all the stereotypical things like murder people, snort cocaine and have his way with women. The story centers around two cops, one of whom is a mole for Costello and one who is in Costello’s gang, but is a mole for the police. With a synopsis like that, you know it won’t end well.
Fun (?) Fact: The film is actually a remake of the Hong Kong film, ‘Internal Affairs’ and the characters are loosely based off of real life mobster Whitey Bulger.
My thoughts: I don’t know what it is about Americans loving the mafia, but it’s definitely a thing. Maybe it’s because the mobster life is so far removed from our own or maybe it’s because deep down, beyond all the murders and drugs, these guys just seem sort of badass. I’m only a casual fan of mafia culture, meaning ‘The Sopranos’ is my favorite tv show of all time but I have yet to see ‘The Godfather’. With that being said, as a casual fan, this movie is perfection.
For one thing, the actors did an amazing job making the characters come alive. Jack Nicholson was the perfect choice to play a murderous, unhinged mobster. Same with Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen playing members of the Boston Police. But the actor that really shone for me was Leonardo DiCaprio. His character was especially complex, seeing as how he had to be a mole for the police and yet convince Costello to let him in to his inner circle. I loved watching his downward spiral as he got closer to being found out by Costello. And in my opinion, his character had more to lose. Matt Damn played Sullivan, the cop who was also a mole for Costello. If he had been found out he would’ve had to look forward to jail time at most. Bill Costigan, played by DiCaprio would’ve at the very least been murdered. Being able to portray such a complicated character takes real talent.
As for the violence, I don’t see how someone can do a mafia movie without a large body count. This movie in particular had a final count of 22. What I really like about The Departed, though, is how realistic the violence is. No one has a chance to plead for their life or scream or threaten anyone. One shot and it’s over. I especially loved the final scenes with Sullivan and Corrigan. The whole movie had been leading up to this point and to see everyone get what is coming to them, good and bad, is perfectly poetic.
Final review: 5/5. It’s hard to say whether I prefer The Soprano’s view of the mafia or The Departed, but I love it either way.
Up next: Frenzy