Reviews - The Departed (2006)
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The Departed (2006)

Country: USA, Hong Kong

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Taglines: Undercover

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writers: William Monahan, Alan Mak, Felix Chong

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, ...

In South Boston, the state police force is waging war on Irish-American organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy quickly gains Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by their double lives, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations they have penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there is a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy - and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save themselves. But is either willing to turn on their friends and comrades they've made during their long stints...

100 | Peter Travers

A new American crime classic from the legendary Martin Scorsese, whose talent shines here on its highest beams.
Read More: Rolling Stone

100 | Kirk Honeycutt

A ferociously entertaining film.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter

100 | David Ansen

The Departed is Scorsese's most purely enjoyable movie in years. But it's not for the faint of heart. It's rude, bleak, violent and defiantly un-PC. But if you doubt that it's also OK to laugh throughout this rat's nest of paranoia, deceit and bloodshed, keep your eyes on the final frames. Scorsese's parting shot is an uncharacteristic, but well-earned, wink.
Read More: Newsweek

100 | James Berardinelli

The original film was gritty and entertaining ("Infernal Affairs"); the new version is a masterpiece - the best effort Scorsese has brought to the screen since "Goodfellas."
Read More: ReelViews

100 | Glenn Kenny

A triumphant revisiting of territory in which Scorsese is an unchallenged master -- the crime drama.
Read More: Premiere

100 | Scott Foundas

DiCaprio harnesses a terrific, buggy intensity reminiscent of "GoodFellas'" hopped-up Henry Hill (Ray Liotta).
Read More: L.A. Weekly

100 | Scott Tobias

When a director of Scorsese's caliber is working at the top of his game, it's a reminder of why we go to the movies in the first place.
Read More: The A.V. Club


The screenplay, by William Monahan, is simply sensational. Scenes play brilliantly. Feelings flow like molten lava. The dialogue overflows with edgy wit and acidulous arias of imprecation.

100 | Jack Mathews

A movie-movie of the first rank.
Read More: New York Daily News

100 | Rene Rodriguez

This is the most vibrant, exciting and invigorating movie-movie of the year.
Read More: Miami Herald

100 | Michael Sragow

Thelma Schoonmaker, a Scorsese collaborator for over a quarter-century, did the bull's-eye editing. The moviemaking throughout is swift, unaffected, masterly.
Read More: Baltimore Sun

100 | Maitland McDonagh

A thrilling return to form.
Read More: TV Guide Magazine

100 | Roger Ebert

It is intriguing to wonder what Scorsese saw in the Hong Kong movie that inspired him to make the second remake of his career (after "Cape Fear"). I think he instantly recognized that this story, at a buried level, brought two sides of his art and psyche into equal focus.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

91 | Lisa Schwarzbaum

The very title The Departed suggests a James Joycean take on Irish-Catholic sentiment when, of course, this story is anything but: It's Scorsesean, and he's in full bloom.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

91 | Peter Rainer

DiCaprio's performance is a revelation only for those who have underestimated him. In Scorsese's previous films, "The Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator," he seemed callow and miscast, but here he has the presence of a full-bodied adult. He's grown into his emotions.
Read More: Christian Science Monitor

91 | William Arnold

Whatever it is, the film is the first major release of the fall worth talking about: a fast-paced, visually slick, psychologically fascinating Boston-set cops-and-crooks saga.
Read More: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

91 | Shawn Levy

It isn't in the same league as the director's best work, chiefly because it lacks the bravura flourishes of cinematic craft that helped make his name. But it's so vital and bloody and funny and wicked and tense and unapologetic that it feels kin to those films, which little of the director's work of the past decade has managed to pull off.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

90 | Todd McCarthy

This reworking of a popular Hong Kong picture pulses with energy, tangy dialogue and crackling performances from a fine cast.
Read More: Variety

90 | Stephanie Zacharek

Scorsese didn't need to remake "Infernal Affairs," but what he has done with it is a compliment rather than an affront to the original: The Departed reimagines its source material rather than just leeching off it, preserving the bone structure of the first movie while finding new curves in it. The story has been clarified; the ellipses of the original have been filled in with just the right amount of exploratory shading. This is a picture of grand gestures and subtle intricacies, a movie that, even at more than two hours long, feels miraculously lean. It's a smart shot of lucid storytelling.
Read More:

89 | Marc Savlov

This is a dream cast for both Scorsese and the viewer, and everyone is working at the peak of their craft. Nicholson's flawless performance as the increasingly unhinged crime boss is a marvel of manic, paranoid ruination.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

88 | Claudia Puig

The film's score and editing brilliantly heighten the film's energy, keeping the audience somewhat off-kilter and unsure where things are headed.
Read More: USA Today

88 | Lou Lumenick

The profanity-laced but witty and literate dialogue by William Monahan ("Kingdom of Heaven") is delivered by a brilliantly chosen cast, almost all of whom are operating at the very top of their game.
Read More: New York Post

88 | Steven Rea

It's a movie with a pulse. Sometimes, it flies off the chart.
Read More: Philadelphia Inquirer

88 | Ty Burr

When The Departed roars to life, as it does in so many of its scenes, you feel like nobody understands movies -- the delirious highs, the unforgiving moral depths -- as well as this man does. Welcome back, Marty.
Read More: Boston Globe

80 | David Edelstein

The movie works smashingly, especially if you haven't seen its Hong Kong counterpart and haven't a clue what's coming. But for all its snap, crackle, and pop, it's nowhere near as galvanic emotionally.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

80 | Roberto Sadovski

Back to the streets and with a stellar cast, Martin Scorsese proves once again that he's the master of urban storytelling -- and of thrillingly violent filmmaking.
Read More: Empire

80 | Manohla Dargis

What helps make The Departed at once a success and a relief isn't that the director of "Kundun," Mr. Scorsese's deeply felt film about the Dalai Lama, is back on the mean streets where he belongs; what's at stake here is the film and the filmmaking, not the director's epic importance.
Read More: The New York Times

80 | Kenneth Turan

Frequently excessive but never dull, The Departed is a little too much of a lot of the things that define Martin Scorsese films but it's also almost impossible to resist. Too operatic at times, too in love with violence and macho posturing at others, it's a potboiler dressed up in upscale designer clothes, but oh how that pot does boil.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

80 | Ann Hornaday

Crackles right along, stopping only long enough for Scorsese's signature bursts of explosive violence. Those brawls feel a bit rote, but what's different here is a newfound playful humor.
Read More: Washington Post

80 | David Denby

Not one of Scorsese's greatest films; it doesn't use the camera to reveal the psychological and aesthetic dimensions of an entire world, as "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," and "Goodfellas" did. But it's a viciously merry, violent, high-wattage entertainment, and speech is the most brazenly flamboyant element in it.
Read More: The New Yorker

75 | Michael Phillips

The Departed exists in a movie-place about as far from personal statements as a storied director can get. Maybe those days for Scorsese are long gone. But Scorsese's sense of craft remains sure.
Read More: Chicago Tribune

75 | Mick LaSalle

There's no attempt at greatness here, just a fabulously successful attempt at a good crime movie. The Oscar-bait self-consciousness of "Gangs of New York" and "The Aviator" is gone. In its place is a buoyancy, an impish delight in telling a harsh urban story in the most effective terms possible.
Read More: San Francisco Chronicle

70 | J.R. Jones

The Departed is completely engrossing, a master class in suspense. But in moral terms it may be the least involving story that Scorsese -- an artist much preoccupied with morality -- has ever taken on.
Read More: Chicago Reader

70 | Pete Vonder Haar

This isn't to say The Departed is a bad movie, far from it, but knowing who's directing it and the amount of talent he had to work with, it's hard not to be disappointed that Scorsese didn't knock us on our asses. Is it his best movie since "Goodfellas?" Sure, but it falls shy of that film's excellence.
Read More: Film Threat

70 | Dana Stevens

It's nice to see Scorsese back in the saddle and a treat to find a cops-and-robbers thriller with some energy and wit. But even so, it's a stylish head rush of a movie that flies by, even at two-and-a-half hours, and keeps turning the knife (and your stomach) up to the final scene.
Read More: Slate

63 | Rick Groen

Rarely has a star's look-at-me turn so completely torpedoed a project. Whenever the picture threatens to gain some momentum, up pops Jack to stop it dead in its tracks. The loyal few may be laughing with him, but the rest of us are definitely laughing at him.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

60 | J. Hoberman

Neither a debacle nor a bore, The Departed works but only up to a point, and never emotionally--even if the director does contrive to supply his version of a happy ending.
Read More: Village Voice

50 | Lawrence Toppman

Scorsese in his prime might've made better use of this hamming, but this picture feels like an exercise by a Scorsese clone who has tackled the master's themes - without his energy and economy of style.
Read More: Charlotte Observer

40 | Stanley Kauffmann

Is Scorsese desperate? This screenplay has the scent of it, as if he is scraping for material to feed his basic filmic interests. But the risk in this case--not evaded--was that his need led him close to painful strain. I can't remember another Scorsese moment as shockingly banal as the finishing touch here.
Read More: The New Republic