Move over Three 6 Mafia, Martin Scorsese is finally going to land his first Academy Award.
The Departed is, without a doubt (in my mind), Scorsese's best film since Goodfellas, and it would be an absolute crime if he is yet again robbed of that little golden statue come Oscar time.
A brutal, pull-no-punches crime drama, The Departed is about, at its core, family. Loyalty. It's about knowing who you are and where you came from. Two men, a cop and a crook, infiltrate each other's world and become embroiled in a high stakes game of cat and mouse.
One guy, Colin Sullivan, grew up on the mean streets of Boston working for Frank Costello, crime boss, and quickly climbs the ladder of the Massachusetts State Police, who are attempting to bring Costello down.
The other, Billy Costigan, just wants to be a good police, but his family ties stall his ascent until he agrees to go deep undercover and become a member of Costello's inner circle.
Two men working opposite sides of the law, both traitors and loyal soldiers at the same time.
I can't say enough about the incredible acting in this film. Everyone, from Matt Damon, Leo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson to Martin Sheen (whose character is named "Oliver Queenan," which is remarkably similar to "Oliver Queen," the secret identity of DC Comics' Green Arrow, which I simply find amusing), Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin, are fantastic. I've long thought that the Academy needs to create an "Best Ensemble" award and this film is the best evidence of that I've seen to date. I honestly don't know who to praise first or most.
I'm not going to get into plot too much, save for what I wrote above. There are a myriad of twists and turns that will keep your heart racing and your head spinning 'til the very end, but in a good way.
It's a powerful, violent picture about life. And death. And the importance of remembering the departed.