No really, he cast Leo AGAIN!

Golden Mug

NOMINEE: Supporting Acress (Vera Farmiga)

Theatrical Release Date: 10/06/2006
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCraprio, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin

Continuing the trend of remaking foreign films and blindly casting Leonardo DiCraprio, legendary director / possible android (at least since “Casino”) Martin Scorsese delivers to movie theaters nationwide “The Departed”.

A remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs”, the basic idea is that there is an undercover cop inside an organized crime boss’ inner circle as well as a mole inside the police department.

People get shot, F-bombs get dropped (226 according to IMDb) and fans of the Boston accent can rejoice!

Flippant remarks aside, this is probably Scorsese’s best film since “Good Fellas”. However, that isn’t hard and this isn’t “Good Fellas”.

Most of the success in this film is owed to its source material and the actors. I think releasing this in October rather than December shows just how little faith there was that this would be an award season contender.

That being said, I will get this out of the way and capitulate that Dicraprio did a pretty good job in this one. His Boston accent swerves like my Aunt in rush hour traffic (she’s Asian) but I would say this is the best I’ve seen him act since “The Basketball Diaries” … of course, I’ve pretty much hated everything he did since then but who’s counting?

“Titanic Jack Dawson” aside, like most Scorsese films the cast is littered with the crème de la crème of Hollywood. Damon, Nicholson, Wahlberg, Sheen and Baldwin all share the stage here.

Damon’s performance is typically strong, Martin Sheen was a nice touch and Marky Mark does a nice job as well.

Actually, casting Damon and Wahlberg was not just a good idea but a great idea and probably saved the film. Since it is set in Boston, it’s a good idea to pick people who can actually do the accent!

Nicholson played a mix of the Joker and his character in “The Witches of Eastwick”. He was good but nothing I haven’t seen before. Still, better than some of the latest dreck he’s been attached to (i.e. “About Schmidt”).

A nice supporting role goes to Ray Winstone who most people might not recognize but he’s great at playing “heavies” and this was no exception. It’s a shame he didn’t get a little more screen time but when you’re up against a cast like this, you take what you can get.

Though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d have to go with Alec Baldwin. He had all the great lines and got to ham it up, all within the confines of the situation. He basically steals every scene he’s in.

The film unfolds about how you would expect. There really aren’t any twists that you don’t see coming but Damon and cast are able to keep one’s interest fairly well.

There is a fair deal of violence in the film, loads of people get shot in the head and there’s a really nice attempt at human flight. I think there must have been a blue light special on headshot blood packs the week the effects department went shopping.

On the negative side, I had read that Scorsese finished this film about a week before it opened and I have to say that it shows.

There’s some really rough editing choices and some of the sound and music cues aren’t quite synched up right.

More annoying, this is yet another film to suffer from M.E.S. (multiple ending syndrome).

I think there were somewhere between four and six different points wherein the film could have stopped but didn’t. I’m fairly happy with the ending that was eventually presented but I could have used those fifteen extra minutes back for another hit of the snooze button tomorrow morning.

And make no mistake, this is a full two and a half hours long. It goes quickly enough but don’t leave a cake in the oven on the way to the theater.

So summing it all up, “The Departed” is a good movie and gets a 3 out of 5 from me. This isn’t something you have to see but if you’ve been looking for a gangster flick, this is about as good as it has been lately.

Of course, you could always just rent “Infernal Affairs” and stop indulging Hollywood’s lack of creativity. Your choice.