Movie: The Departed (2006) #OscarThrowback2007

As with EVERY movie blog I write: *****Spoilers*****Spoilers*****Spoilers*****

My Thoughts While WatchingI had no idea until I pulled up some information on the movie that it is a remake of a 2002 Hong King film titled Internal Affairs.  I also did not realize that Brad Pitt was a producer.  The talent behind this film is amazing in scope.  It was said that 50% of the $90M budget went for actors’ wages.  It paid off, Best Picture Oscar says it all.

Even though I have seen the movie scores of times, I tried to watch it with “new eyes”.  The basis of the storyline is that there were two guys who graduated the academy.  One agreed to go undercover for the State Troopers, the other undercover for the mob.  Throughout the movie, each is trying to figure out who the other rat is. (IMHO) I believe this is Leo DiCaprio’s best played role.

Jack Nicholson channels Whitey Bulger in his over-the-top portrayal of Irish mob boss Frank Costello.  Ever so often I feel as if he goes a little too far and also channels his former role of Daryl Van Horn (Witches of Eastwick).  I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. His oversized ego leads to his inevitable downfall.  The movie is brutal and that brutality plays out at his whim.  The kill shots are just gory enough to feel believable. And, of course, what mobster movie would not be complete without Nicholson holding a huge dildo in a porn theater?

There are a handful of instances that the film has a choppy cut between scenes.

I enjoyed the comedic relief offered by Marky Mark Wahlberg. I’m the guy doing his job. You must be the other guy.

In the scene where Madolyn (Vera Farmiga) answers the phone in her new apartment with Sullivan (Matt Damon), Costello (Jack Nicholson) talks through an apparatus that distorts his voice.  She hands the phone to Sullivan and he walks outside with the phone.  She watches through the glass door with eyes lacking trust. Fast forward through her staying with Sullivan but sleeping with Costigan (Leo DiCaprio) – fast forward to her standing in their living room, listening to a tape she knows came from Costigan that implicates (now) baby daddy in mob crimes and cover ups.  At that point, I do not care who you are, would you not turn him in?  If nothing else but to protect yourself and your baby?  Let’s go a step further – there is Sullivan at the Costigan’s burial and she is there.  She now knows who is responsible and still she is not screaming to the top of her lungs?  I just have a horrible time with her character on every level.

The final scene. I am so thankful for that final scene.  So many times we feel that assholes get away with things and they live to see tomorrow when the actual good guy gets the shaft.  Not this time, my friend.  Not this time.

I enjoy the movie when I see it (inevitably) once a year. The accents make me smile.  The music is on my playlist.

I would suggest it to folks who love gritty crime dramas or mob dramas and who don’t have light stomachs as there is a lot of brain matter splattered throughout.  The cast is amazing, top to bottom.

As I said, I enjoy the movie, I am biased.  Oscar worthy?  Well, what do you think?

Let me know in the comments below.

Complete list of nominees and winners for the 2007 Oscars can be found: HERE

Some Interviews and Extra Video:

IMDB Synopsis: An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.


Lead Actor:  Leonardo DiCaprio (nominated but not for this movie)

Supporting Female: Vera Farmiga

Supporting Male: Matt Damon

Supporting Male: Jack Nicholson

Supporting Male: Mark Wahlberg (Lost to Alan Arkin in Little Ms Sunshine)

Others of note: , Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin

Director: Martin Scorsese (won best director)


1 Ugh – 2 Meh – 3 I don’t hate it? – 4 That was solid. – 5 Loved It!

Cinematography: 4

Costume Design: 3

Film Editing: 3 (won this category)

Makeup and Hairstyling: 3

Music: 5

Production Design: 4

Sound Editing/Mixing: 3

Writing: 4 (won this category)

Overall Score: 29 out of 40



Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 94% liking it.  Average Rating: 4.1/5 with a number of User Ratings: 736,383.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 6 October 2006 (USA) / Runtime: 151 minutes / Budget: $90M

IMDB Trivia:

  • Mark Wahlberg based his performance on the police officers who’d arrested him about two dozen times in his youth, and the reactions of his parents who had to come bail him out with their grocery money.
  • When the film won the Oscar for Best Picture, Martin Scorsese said that he was surprised the film had won. Scorsese said that because the film is such a tough, nasty, and violent film, he never thought about the idea of awards while he was filming it.
  • Martin Scorsese did not realize this was a remake of a Hong Kong movie until after he had agreed to direct it.
  • The only remake of a foreign film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • According to Ray Winstone, he and Jack Nicholson did not get along with each other while filming.
  • Martin Scorsese wanted to shoot the film in Boston, where the story is set. The bulk of the film was shot in New York, partly due to concerns about setting up production and politics, partly because of New York’s 15% filmmaking tax credit. They shot in Boston for 3 weeks in June and 3 more in August. After the success of this film, Massachusetts created a 25% tax credit for filmmaking.
  • When Sullivan asks Trooper Barrigan, “Do you have any suits at home, or do you like going to work looking like you’re going to invade Poland?”, he’s referring to the fact that the Nazis modelled their own uniform after Massachusetts State Police uniforms.
  • Colin Sullivan’s apartment does not exist. The view of the Massachusetts State House was an effects shot from the roof of Suffolk University, which is the law school where Sullivan says he is taking night classes. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus evaluated the shot during pre-production.
  • The first Best Picture Oscar winner of the twenty-first century that wasn’t released on VHS in the United States, and the first to be released on the short-lived HDDVD format. Warner Brothers Home Entertainment had already phased out VHS by 2006, therefore, the film was initially released on DVD, Blu-ray, and HDDVD the following year.
  • Fifty minutes longer than the original, Infernal Affairs (2002).
  • When Frank (Jack Nicholson) walks off with the angel kids, the yacht in the background is the same yacht Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) owns in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
  • (At around two hours and ten minutes) The CD that Costigan mails to Colin is mailed in the cover for The Rolling Stones’ album “Exile on Main St.” Earlier in the film (at around thirty-six minutes), when Costello beats Costigan’s hand with his own shoe, a song from the album, “Let It Loose”, plays over the scene.
  • (At around three minutes) The comic book that Frank Costello gives young Colin Sullivan in the beginning of the movie is Issue #11 of the “Wolverine” series, which was published in September 1989.
  • (At around two hours and five minutes) According to his file, Billy Costigan’s birth date is November 7, 1984. Although a second shot of the same screen then labels it as November 7, 1980.
  • At around one hour and seventeen minutes) Frank Costello attended the Gaetano Donizetti opera Lucia di Lammermoor. This is a musical homage to Scarface (1932), as Paul Muni‘s character would often whistle the sextet from this opera, whenever he killed someone.
  • Jack Nicholson’s mug shot in the movie belongs to his Jack Napier role in Batman (1989), another Warner Bros. production.
  • The “f” word, and its derivatives, are used two hundred thirty-eight times.
  • (At around forty-nine minutes) When Colin (Matt Damon) tells Fitzgibbons (David O’Hara) to call his mother from Trooper Brown’s phone, the ringtone on the receiving phone is “Scotland the Brave”, one of the tunes played on the bagpipes at the cadets’ graduation ceremony.
  • Throughout the film, Martin Scorsese used Xs mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death. Examples include shots of Costigan walking through the airport while talking to Sergeant Dignam, Queenan falling to his death (on the building’s glass windows as Queenan falls to the ground), and Sullivan in his office discussing the flow of information with Costello (the X is created by the light shining through the window). This is an homage to Scarface (1932).
  • DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (reference): When Sullivan turns on the shower before Madolyn starts to listen to Costigan’s tape, the shots are the same three shots in Psycho (1960)’s infamous shower scene.
  • At the beginning of the film, Frank Costello meets young Colin Sullivan while collecting money from a local convenience store. Later, Billy Costigan attacks 2 men from Providence at the same store.


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