Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Introspective Scorcese Reemerges with “The Departed”

Introspective Scorcese Reemerges with “The Departed”

For the director of “Mean Streets,” “Goodfellas,” and “Gangs of New York,” organized crime is as American as apple pie. What separates his previous entries in the crime film log with his latest, “The Departed,” is that his entire script was reworked from a 2002 film out of Hong Kong, titled “Infernal Affairs.”

With an ensemble cast of Goliath proportions, the new film is a welcome workout for some of Hollywood’s finest, including Matt Damon (Syriana), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator) and, uh … oh yeah, the inimitable Jack Nicholson (Anger Management).

The audience is plunged right into the young adulthoods of the two main characters: Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Damon) with quickly-coming and quickly-going scene fragments.

This sudden release of background information is prefaced by the coolly dominant voice of Nicholson, who plays Boston’s Irish mafia boss Frank Costello.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment,” he proclaims. “I want my environment to be a product of me.”

Conversely, we see the development of Costigan into an undercover cop whose dedication is waning fast in light of his much-extended stay as one of Costello’s trusted go-to men. Sullivan is then promoted to detective for the Massachussets State Police so that he can presumably hunt down the man who runs Boston’s streets, but Scorcese lets us in on a little secret: he is actually a mole working for Costello himself in order to find the rat he senses among his own.

Paying close attention to Costigan and Sullivan, they are both clearly uncomfortable with their situations and the direction their lives are headed. In a scene with Billy’s psychiatrist Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), he voraciously insults her career as she refuses to prescribe him meds to cure his anxiety attacks. Minutes after he leaves, she brings him his prescription, and then of course, they hook up for a date.

Change is the hardest task for these two protagonists, constantly conflicted between doing bad things and acting out their truly good nature. For the avid filmgoer, it may add to one’s experience to view this dilemma as it is accentuated further in the morally centered Chinese original.

While both films accentuate the vastly different studio systems in China and the United States, they are at the same time sharing the same human themes of conflict between moral and personal obligations.

Like the transference of Kurosawa’s samurai classics into Leone’s spaghetti westerns, Scorcese has Americanized an emerging thread in Eastern cinema, that of the law enforcement’s inability to effectively combat organized crime.

1 thought on “Introspective Scorcese Reemerges with “The Departed””

  1. “Like the transference of Kurosawa’s samurai classics into Leone’s spaghetti westerns, Scorcese has Americanized an emerging thread in Eastern cinema, that of the law enforcement’s inability to effectively combat organized crime.” — Tubs (tubarsanti) worded my thoughts perfectly — “organized crime is as American as apple pie” — so I’ll quote him instead of even attempt to phrase it any better!

    Scorsese displays brilliant dialogue between characters ad well as keen, nationalistic arrangement of viewpoints, a barrage of witty anecdotes, and overall has a unique style that is familiar to none other.

    But instead of further elaborating with a variant wording of the identical viewpionts of a previously written review, I’ll choose to instead pay tribute to Tubs (tubarsanti) for a finely detailed and complete review which leaves me speechless. I cannot add anything more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post

Wild BillWild Bill

“He fashioned himself as just an ordinary man, in no way special. But of course, that was a deception. By luck or design it had fallen to him to play

Drive (2011)Drive (2011)

Like its lead character, Drive doesn’t seem to fit in. While it’s set in present day Los Angeles, it wants to live in the 1980s. Its protagonist, an unnamed man

LimitlessLimitless

This is one of those movies that seem to slip through the cracks, for me, and many others.  It got great reviews, but yet you never hear of anyone who