(Review originally written at 12 May 2007)

Let's face it, Martin Scorsese has made some good movies the past few years but nothing too brilliant or remarkable, at least not compared to his more early work from the '70's, '80's and early '90's. The last real brilliant Scorsese was in my opinion the remake "Cape Fear", which dates back from 1991. But "The Departed" is really again a movie that deserves to be on the long list of brilliant Martin Scorsese movies.

From the opening sequence on it's obvious; this is a typical Scorsese movie. For this movie he went back to the genre were he already was successful with in the past; the gangster-movies. It's a nice touch for a change that the movie is set in present time. After all, why should the best gangster-movies always take place in the past?

"The Departed" is a greatly told and constructed modern crime movie about an infiltrator in the state police and an infiltrator in a crime syndicate who have to hunt each other down. It's a movie that provides the movie with some thrills, unexpected twists (especially toward the ending) and some great confrontations between different characters. The story on its self is already quite good (Just loose the love-story next times. It adds nothing to the characters or story.) and interesting but it's made all the more great by the way it is told. Not only kudos to Scorsese's directing for that but also most definitely for the editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, with lots of good quick flash-forwards and other tricks. All I can say is that she really deserved her Oscar for this movie. It really helps to tell the story and give the movie a look and identity of its own.

The movie its cast doesn't seem like the most likely won but it works out perfect in the movie. I think a lot of people were screaming for Robert De Niro but also Jack Nicholson is perfectly believable and just great as a gangster-boss. Mark Wahlberg was great as a bastard-cop and Alec Baldwin as a nice cop. The other way around would seem more logical but they work out surprisingly well in their roles. It was good to see Matt Damon in a more villainous and tougher role for a change, mostly because it shows how great as an actor he actually is. Leonardo DiCaprio also shows once more that he is more than just another pretty face.

It's not a movie that relies on its action but more on its characters and story. The movie is exciting, tense and spectacular regardless of that it hasn't a lot of action in it.

Of course this isn't Scorsese's best (which really says something about the extremely high qualities of this man), so is it fair that he finally won his Oscar for this movie? I mean after all, if this movie won, then should had movies such as "Heat", "Training Day" and so on. As a matter of fact it is of course true that if this movie was completely the same but had another director's name attached to it this movie would probably not had been nominated at all. It's just not the Oscar-type of movie but alas, I'm glad that Scorsese finally has an Oscar now, only just 3 decades too late.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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