First off, The Departed is a must see for any guy out there. It has the one liners, the violence level and a glorious ensemble cast. At times it feels as good as Heat or The Usual Suspects even though it doesn’t really hold up as well in the end. The contradiction with The Departed is that even though you should see it it’s nothing more than a little above average effort.
The plot: An undercover agent working his way up the crime ladder (Leo DiCaprio) faces off against a mole in the Boston police force (Matt Damon). The head of the mob is Jack Nicholson and Martin Sheen plays his foil as commissioner of the police force. I’ll also throw out Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg as cast members which should seal the deal in making this the most star heavy movie of the year.
There are plenty of problems with The Departed. There are logic issues big enough to drive a blimp through (supposing you owned a blimp). There is a love angle that’s close to worthless and I still have a very tough time buying DiCaprio as “tough” even after Gangs of New York. I guess I’ll never be able to truly wash away the spectacle that was Titanic. The Hong Kong original (Infernal Affairs) pretty much owns this one which calls into question its very right to exist. Finally Jack Nicholson’s opening voice over sounds way too much like Wilford Brimley for my liking. Making Jack throw on an accent was pointless, he’s freaking Jack. Just let him be Jack and say he moved to Boston or something.
Now for the good. As I said before it has one liners galore that you will be forced to laugh at. The cast is outstanding with Wahlberg in particular delivering hilarity and brutality. The Departed will keep you guessing throughout and you’ll have no idea how they are going to tie everything together as mere minutes remain in the story. Scorcese’s direction is crisp and the film feels important, like something that as a movie fan you’re pretty much obligated to attend. The Departed rolls along very nicely in the same way Inside Man does, it’s relatively easy to follow, and all the elements are interesting at the very least. Some people will love this, especially those who haven’t seen the original, because it comes off as really innovative and compelling if it’s your first go round on the subject matter.
Is The Departed worth all the critical buzz building up around it? God no. Did you guys not see the original? Did you miss the fact that certain things don’t happen on this planet? It’s not Oscar or Golden Globe or even top ten for that matter. Nevertheless, take the recommendation of everyone out there (including myself) and lay down the seven to ten dollars. Not everything can be “genre defining” or “decade affecting,” some movies have to be fall back on being an entertaining and fun form of escape. With the amount of bad films out there that’s not such a bad fate.