If it doesn’t feel right to laugh at a film with blood splattered on every wall, don’t see “The Departed.”
But if you believe that comedy, violence and intense thrills can co-exist in one film, then read on.
Cinema legend Martin Scorsese returns
to his gangster crime scenes in his new film “The Departed.” Teamed up yet again with his favorite young actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese recruits a mind-blowing cast to dish a story about deception and identity.
Matt Damon and DiCaprio lead as Collin Sullivan and Billy Costigan, two rookie Boston cops who are about to familiarize themselves with the dangers of being rats.
Under Irish mob syndicate Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson, Sullivan joins the police department, and under Oliver Queenan, played by Martin Sheen, Costigan joins Costello’s crew. The two then engage in a life-threatening race to destroy the departments in which they are deceiving.
Identity seems to be the underlying theme to this film, and no one conveys it better than DiCaprio. His character Costigan
is rattled to the core every time he has a private meeting with Costello, and it’s all displayed through the actor’s eyes – his voice remains as steady as his punch.
DiCaprio has got a lot to do in this film. Costigan is losing his identity, and not only does he have to remain undercover in a setting that is as tranquil as a volcano, but he is posing as the type of person he swore he’d never succumb to.
Damon, the film’s second villain under Nicholson, fails to exude any villainous persona.
Yet perhaps it’s the calmness of his character, the shear charm he displays when he’s lying, sabotaging and shooting that makes him a true baddie.
If you want to talk villains, look no further than Nicholson. Costello is so insane, yet so cool and controlling, that it makes him untouchable.
It’s difficult to tell whether Nicholson’s
character was written with such vulgarity,
or whether the actor simply brought it to the table himself.
Perhaps the answer is found in his own decision to wear a dildo during a scene in an adult theater. The reasons for this stunt are not exactly clear, but it certainly does elicit a shocked laugh from the audience.
The three leads work together marvelously
– as if they should be paired in every film. And even more pleasantly, the supporting cast of “The Departed” pepper the film with so much charisma that it rounds off the film as having possibly the best cast so far this year.
Mark Wahlberg gives a great performance
as a fiery detective who does nothing
but offer brawls and politically incorrect statements. Martin Sheen as the detective who hires DiCaprio is lightly endearing, as he is the most fatherly and understanding to Costigan’s trying task. And Alec Baldwin is so outrageously funny with his random jokes, outbursts, and societal statements – the actor has gotten wittier with every pound he’s gained.
This movie is bloody. Very bloody. But screenwriter William Monahan understands that a film doesn’t need to be painted with one genre. All the characters are profane and vulgar – but their deliveries are humorous.
Although he is the incarnate of evil, no one can resist the charms of Nicholson. Coming off of a long stretch of comedies, he proves that both humor and fear can be achieved simultaneously.
Perhaps most valuable in “The Departed”
is its unpredictability among a slew of films that do not embody a shred of this. Scorsese’s film will keep the audience gasping throughout its entire two-and-a-half hour duration.
It’s been a while since a film has delivered this many shockers and twists. This alone is worth the price of an admission ticket.
Its success in proving the audience wrong is what makes it great.
Jesse North can be reached at email@example.com.