Packed full of gripping action, adventure, suspense, thrill, and brilliant storytelling, this movie is a treasure in terms of fine entertainment. It keeps you on the edge of your seat right at the beginning with its clever premise and then for the duration of the rest of the movie, and has shocking moments throughout the film that keeps you wanting more and pondering about what could possibly happen next after THAT just happened?
Beautifully and intricately written screenplay by William Monahan, it won him a WGA award and an Academy award for best adapted screenplay.
Then there is the magnificent Martin Scorcese who directed this movie perfectly in my eyes. Scorsese has truly directed a classic. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, “best-of” list, saying, “If they’re lucky, directors make one classic film in their career. Martin Scorsese has one per decade (Taxi Driver in the ’70s, Raging Bulls in the ’80s, Goodfellas in the ’90s). His 2006 Irish Mafia masterpiece kept the streak alive.”
Then there is the acting. Simply amazing. There wasn’t one major actor who fell short of portraying their role to its highest potential. Leonardo DiCaprio was magnificent in illustrating perfectly the kinds of inner psychological struggles his character was going through along with evoking emotion in the audience. Jack Nickolson is great at everything he does, but he brings Frank Costello, the mafia boss/FBI informer, to a whole other level. Matt Damon was astonishingly successful in making me hate him, something I thought was impossible while also bringing dynamic to his character. Mark Wahlberg was convincing as a dick in the beginning of the movie, and then was great at altering our perception of him toward the end making us root for him. And even Alec Baldwin had some good acting moments in this film.
Overall, this film works on multiple levels for not just fussy cinemagoers but general audiences as well. It never feels slow or self-important.
And this isn’t even an ‘awards seeking’ kind of personal arthouse film like some of Scorsese’s previous movies, rather “The Departed” is simply and purely a thoroughly entertaining mainstream blockbuster designed more to be enjoyed than to be analysed. Yet, much like Chris Nolan did with “Batman Begins”, it’s one of those great examples of the difference that a visionary director can bring to relatively conventional material – making a solid movie into something far deeper and more rewarding.