The Good

This film is the Best Picture of 2006.

The Bad

No Extras. I know they are releasing this movie in a Special Edition and it upsets me that that wasn't the one I was given.

The Departed brings us Martin Scorsese in the genre he is known for, leading high caliber actors to amazing performances and heightening every scene with either dialogue, editing, or action that enhances the story.

This film shows us the tales of Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and the man about whom their world's revolve Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Costigan is made a plant in Costello's crew while Sullivan is Frank's agent in the Special Investigations Unit of the Police Force. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse with both Costigan and Sullivan trying to outwit one another, without ever really knowing who the other person is. Through them, we get to see the daily goings on in Costello's world, and we also see how the men in the black hats and the white hats can all be highly corrupted.

Utilizing the editing style that has put Scorsese on the map, The Departed is yet another fine installment in his gangster oeuvre. At times it is cagey, convoluted, scary, and everything else we love to have Martin Scorsese indulge in. This film is layered in music, film language, and the kind of violence that we usually don't see from movies today. It is as if Scorsese has come back and infused this movie with everything that he has learned since he started making films in the 1970s.

From not having title credits until about 20 minutes into the movie, to employing a Dropkick Murphys song as this film's theme, to filling up this movie with so much story and characters that we become as confused as they are, The Departed is the reason why movies are the special experiences that they are.


No Extras came with this DVD.


Widescreen Version presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. Yes, I did watch this this movie on my 9" TV, and I was captivated from the moment I put this disc into my DVD player. In fact, there was something about this film on the small screen that made it a lot easier to manage. I was able to follow the characters more and I was even able to keep up on all the fast paced action. In addition to this, I found this DVD transfer to be amazingly clear. I can only imagine how this movie will look in Blu-ray or HD-DVD. Good job Warner Bros., you were given a 151 minute film and you handled it perfectly.


Dolby Digital. English, French and Spanish Dolby Surround 5.1. I found the audio on this DVD to be just as solid as when I saw it in the theater. I know that my one speaker setup cannot compare with the sound system in the movies, but I was still quite impressed with what I was able to hear. All the small things, the little details of audio that I missed the first time around, really seem like they have been bolstered on this DVDs mix. The music seemed a lot more prominent, and on top of that I just found I was able to process more auditory information.


This front cover features images DiCaprio, Damon and Nicholson against a shot of the New York skyline. Each image seems like it has been inflected with green earth tones, making these images seem just a tad more grittier and paranoid. The back features shots of these actors as well as Mark Wahlberg. There is a well written description of what The Departed is about, a cast list and some technical specs. Aside from knowing that Warner Bros. is going to release a Special Edition of this DVD, I am quite content with this release of The Departed.

Final Word

Having seen this film in the theater and now on DVD, I was amazed at how little The Departed has lost in the translation. This movie is so good because it feels real. I never felt as if I was watching actors act. Sure, I think that Jack Nicholson sort of goes over the top here, but I think that Scorsese really knew how to utilize his energy. I also think that Scorsese seems just as at home with the working class in Boston, as he seemed many years prior with working class Italians in Mean Streets.

There is an interesting school of thought that Mean Streets was more real in terms of how it presented the mafia, and that later films like Casino and Goodfellas are sort of this director selling out. Giving that organization more glamour if you will. Well, I don't think we'll ever know what came first in regards to if the film's represent the gangsters, or the gangsters represent the films, but I think that to deny the artistic achievement of what this director has brought to this medium is to do the medium of film a disservice. At all times The Departed is working on us. Whether we are trying to follow the action, the characters, or the plot this movie doesn't let you off the hook until the final credits.

On DVD, this movie still has all the frightening reality that it had in the theater. The Departed is truly a movie experience.

The Departed was released October 5, 2006.