The Departed Reviews
The argot of New York's Little Italy is Martin Scorsese's first language, but the filmmaker speaks fluent, pungent Bostonese in the terrific cops-and-mobsters tale The Departed.
The Departed, which screenwriter William Monahan cleverly adapted from the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, crackles right along, stopping only long enough for Scorsese's signature bursts of explosive violence.
A relentlessly violent, breathtakingly assured piece of mean-streets filmmaking, the film shows the legendary director dropping the bids for industry respectability that have preoccupied him over the past decade and doing what he does best.
After a pair of flawed Oscar-hunting epics, Martin Scorsese has returned to the gritty, violent mob drama that has always been his strong suit, and the result -- The Departed -- is his best film since 1990's Goodfellas.
For all its bloodletting, The Departed is an intoxicating film. It's a film that'll have your hands over your face with one eye peeking: The violence sickens, but the movie seduces.
What makes this a Scorsese film, and not merely a retread, is the director's use of actors, locations and energy, and its buried theme. I am fond of saying that a movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it.
It is funny, shocking and brutal, and it's filled with brilliant performances, with some of our best actors sinking their teeth into a great screenplay from William Monahan.
After the dolled-up theatrics of his last few features, from Casino (1995) up through The Aviator (2004), it's a kick to find director Martin Scorsese back in prime form, at least in the terrific first half of The Departed.
Freed from iconic figures and weighty themes, Martin Scorsese, in The Departed, gets to riff and rock. And the audience gets a huge, bloody, profane entertainment in the bargain.
If the story suffers initially from a slight lack of focus, hang in there, because you will soon become immersed in a mesmerizing, expertly plotted cat-and-mouse game.