This is a film that is highly recommended on my watch list. I admit it took me a while to watch this but I don’t know why; Scorsese brings together some of the finest actors to make this one of his best.
What occurs is a similar event for two ‘cops’ played by DiCaprio and Matt Damon. Both are working under cover with Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) working undercover for the police in a gang whereas the other is working under cover for the gang in the police force after Matt Damon’s character ‘Colin Sullivan’ was taken under the wing of gangland chief Frank Castillo (Jack Nicholson) at an early age where he worked his way up to detective status to leak information for Castillo.
This circumstance of events leads to both parties wanting to find out who the other is with the knowledge of a ‘rat’ in both the force and the gang meaning that a race to finding who the rat is comes to play. This is very interesting as the film manages to play two similar plot lines side by side and it works a treat. The linkage between the two even crosses further with the two sharing feelings for the same girl with Billy Costigan taking up a one on one relationship when he opens up during counselling whereas Colin Sullivan meets her on an elevator where he see’s something in her as she steps off to go see the other man himself.
The director seeks a cascade of events of which play to the viewers eye as both Damon and DiCaprio go through the same day to day events but from different points of view endlessly trying to figure out who is the rat. This evidently is both intriguing and exciting to watch with an awesome sequence of events that lead to the two meeting at last.
Something I also noticed was the insight into what working in a gang appears like with Scorsese seeming to hit it right on as Costigan struggles to maintain his undercover identity and the blood and killing he’s witnessed. The actions he takes to gain Castillo’s trust and the overall affect it leaves on Frank is an interesting look into the life of undercover policemen and just how much it can affect someone. In ‘The Departed’, Billy Costigan finds himself alone before going undercover and his only contacts to the outside world of reality is his councillor Madelyn (Vera Farmiga). This of course turns into a love affair with Colin Sullivan also having the hots for her. Continuing on is where the undertaking of events finds it’s loop hole for the girl is a main exploitation in the lives of both men and it’s only when Madelyn gets information from Billy on Colin that it falls into place like a perfect jigsaw.
It’s a film that explores a modern mobster feel with a plot that’s got enough juice in the plot to make a pretty fine drink. Martin Scorsese outdoes himself with this one and lives up to his undeniable expectations.