1/13/07

The Departed (2006)

Leonardo DiCaprio (Costigan), Matt Damon (Sullivan), Jack Nicholson (Costello), Mark Wahlberg (Dignam)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas)

IMDB: "Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities." Based on Internal Affairs.

Granted, watching any film on an airplane's individual six-inch screen does not make for the best viewing experience, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. I haven't liked Leo in any role to this extent since Titanic -- I didn't fancy Jack Dawson, but I'm one of those saps who loved the film -- and Matt Damon is always sexier when he plays someone with an edge of menace. Twists, especially the finale, surprised me. Grim humor livened the drama. But Leo's portrayal of an informant's deep neurosis, isolation, and sacrifice proved the most compelling.

As to whether or not Scorsese will win his first directing Oscar for this one, I don't know. It certainly outranks Gangs of New York among his most recent films (and I couldn't even bring myself to see The Aviator because the mere concept bored me). His use of violence -- although realistic and shocking -- did not come across as gratuitous. The plot proved complex, but Scorsese managed to keep the action moving at a frenetic pace. I genuinely have no concept of how long the picture was, but it flew past for me.

Overall, a quality flick and one I wouldn't mind seeing again when I won't be interrupted by the girls' incessant trips to the airplane toilet. And now I'm even more curious about the original.

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