Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Departed

Outstanding crime drama from Martin Scorsese, this is easily one of the best films of the year. Based on an excellent Asian film, "Infernal Affairs", this American remake moves the action to Boston but maintains the basic plot of undercover moles in both the police department and the mob.

In his early years, Robert DeNiro served as Scorsese's muse. Now it's Leonardo DeCaprio's turn as he gives his best performance yet in his third film with Scorsese. Playing an undercover cop in the Boston mob, DeCaprio is just sensational, running the gambit of emotions and straining to hold it together under the pressure of discovery. On the other side, we have Matt Damon as a criminal mole in the Boston State Troopers detective division. Damon's character warrants a more restrained performance and while less showy, Damon delivers as well. And of course, in the middle of it all is Jack Nicholson. As crime boss, Frank Costello, Nicholson has his meatiest role in years. He is charming and menacing all at once. He takes the role to the top but never quite over it.

Everyone in a supporting role delivers as well. Mark Wahlberg is ferocious as the wise guy cop with a short fuse and Martin Sheen plays the wise officer-in-charge a notch down from his "President Bartlett". Alec Baldwin channels his "Glengarry Glenn Ross" sales manager into Damon's superior on the police force. And up and coming actress, Vera Faminga, (so good in "Down To The Bone") holds her own among all the testosterone as the woman caught between the two leads.

Scorsese gives a master class in direction with many scenes achieving almost poetic perfection. "The Departed" is thoroughly entertaining. Be warned however, that this is a violent film filled that doesn't hold back on the bloodshed. If that's not a concern, then don't miss it!

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