Friday, January 22, 2010

Movie Review: The Departed

Released: 2006
Reviewed: 1.11.10
Star rating: 4 out of 5

Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy), Matt Damon (Colin), Jack Nicholson (Frank), Mark Wahlberg (Dignam), Martin Sheen (Queenan), Ray Winstone (French), Vera Farmiga (Madolyn), Alec Baldwin (Ellerby).

A police tactic for fighting organized crime has been to plant a mole in the organization. But what happens when the crime organization does the same and both organizations realize they have a mole? The rules of engagement change dramatically and nobody is safe anymore.

Not a big crime drama fan, this one was a wonderfully well done surprise! The film kicks off with character development and plot setup that includes some good action. From there the action and suspense escalate to a fever pitch as the crime organization and police force both scramble desperately to figure out who the mole is in their respective organization while at the same time continuing their operations. By the end of the movie we don't know who to trust and it almost feels as if the police and criminals have switched roles. Add in some awesome surprises and you will be on the edge of your seat before this ride is done.

Acting was excellent here with DiCaprio doing very well as a beady eyed criminal. Damon put forth a good performance as usual while Nicholson's performance reminds us that he isn't even close to being done with acting yet. Wahlberg was good although his character was a bit hard to swallow being overly abusive to co-workers which is hard to imagine being tolerated these days. Supporting work was also well done by everyone. Kudos to Scorsese for his work as Director with this one.

Camera work, sets and backgrounds were all nicely done and contributed to the quality feel of the film. Special effects were fight and action focused and done very nicely, particularly the blood spatters which are not often seen with such clarity. Dialogue and sound were well done and the cuts from loud music to dialogue were an interesting touch.

Overall this is an excellent crime drama with exceptional quality on every level. Put this in the top half of your must see list but be aware this one will run 2 1/2 hours! With plenty of graphic and brutal violence, pervasive foul language, drug content, and some sexuality save this one for older teens and above.

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