Friday, 20 July 2007

The Departed - Dir. Martin Scorsese (2006)

The Departed (2006) "You've accused me of being a rat twice now, and if you do it again I swear I'll put a god-damn f*cking bullet in your head no matter who you are." Martin Scorsese is quite possibly the greatest director of the 'crime drama' or 'gangster' films that Hollywood has ever produced. Gangs of New York, Casino and Goodfellas, just to name a few of the excellent films he has directed and 'The Departed' is no different. Superbly written, brilliantly acted and a flowing story that is mesmerising. Typical Scorsese some will say.

Leonardo Di Caprio (Billy Costigan) and Matt Damon (Colin Sullivan), find themselves on the other side of the fence as one infiltrates the Boston State Police and the other the Irish Mafia, but as the discovery of 'rats' within both organisations arises, everybody becomes a suspect, especially those that are guilty. While Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) and Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen) play the men at war from the different sides of the law.

First off the bat, William Monahan's writing is next to nothing, but brilliance. The slick dialogue combined with Scorsese's stylistic direction makes this film what it is. From the aggressive nature of Detective Dignam (Wahlberg) to the father-like, old-school Police Commissioner Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen), Monahan has the dialogue down to a tee, while Scorsese's introduction of simple cinematography allows the other techniques to take centre stage. Scorsese uses lightning particularly well in 'Departed', just like in Casino, as the darkness represents the unknown, danger, the aggression, the light shows reality in its bleakest form. Every piece of music in the film, also compliments the film very well such as 'Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb' being played lightly over a scene that contains both sex and adultery.

However the real brilliance is in the cast, Nicholson, Sheen, Di Caprio, Wahlberg, Damon, Baldwin, Winstone and Dalton and nobody let's the film down. Leonardo Di Caprio (William Costigan) is particularly stunning playing a tough-guy gangster that must hide his past or face the darkest of punishments, death. Matt Damon (Colin Sullivan), on the other hand is less convincing than Leonardo Di Caprio, but his performance still doesn't let up, as his role switches quite instantly from the 'collaring-result-delivering protagonist' to the bad-guy mob man on the inside. While Martin Sheen (Queenan) and Mark Wahlberg (Detective Dignam) play there supporting roles, countering-acting 'good-cop bad-cop' exceptionally well. Nicholson (Frank Costello) played the role of the tough-guy gangster quite well, but his character was missing substance and felt a bit two-dimensional, but apart from that, the acting, just like the cast, was superb.

Scorsese is quite simply the master of the Gangster genre and while some may say 'it's been done before' it feels so fresh and new to a period of cinema full of horror, thriller and romantic comedies. If this film does not get nominated for an Oscar, Leonardo Di Caprio should be instead for his best role since 'The Aviator' (which was directed by Martin Scorsese as well.) If you're a Scorsese fan you will love all two hours and thirty-six minutes of this. If your not, you will still very much enjoy it.

By Jordan