‘The Departed’: Rat and mouse

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

Scorsese’s 2006 film, ‘The Departed’, was a hit when it came out and maintained its popularity to this day for a very good reason.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, an intelligent police academy reject, and Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, an academy graduate who quickly climbed the ranks to sergeant. Billy becomes an undercover cop in crime boss Costello’s, played by Jack Nicholson, Irish mafia. However, Sullivan is doing the exact inverse as he acts as a rat for Costello, within the Massachusetts State Police. From here, their paths repeatedly cross and both spiral deeper and deeper into an ever-increasingly unstable rivalry.

Image taken from: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407887/mediaviewer/rm2504566017/

Scorsese is able to lead his cast through a winding story headed by Jack Nicholson’s incredible performance as a purely evil and steely villain. Matt Damon and DiCaprio deserve just as much praise as they both perform excellently in two extremely tense roles.

As the film continues, an initially somewhat regular plot grows complex as both main characters continually are put in situations where they seemingly have no way out, yet always come out on top. This sort of plot allows the entertainment value of the film to increase and increase seemingly without end, at least until the film itself ends.

The film from the very beginning demands the viewer’s attention, as it is very hard to not be glued to the screen throughout the entirety of the film. In a constantly changing plot, the viewer is able to find some stability in ‘The Departed’s’ characters. All of the important figures remain as they were in the beginning, as the only real differences in how they act are simply their increasing suspicion and panic as their worlds’ walls inch closer and closer.

‘The Departed’ seems predictable enough, however the viewer often has enough time to predict what happens next. In a lesser film, the viewer would be able to discern the next story beat, yet in  ‘The Departed’ it’s almost as if it plays too fast for your brain, and you yourself are dragged along by the enigmatic trio.

When it comes to predictability, if you were able to see the ending’s multiple shocking turns coming, I’d have to say that you’d be a genius. If there is ever a movie that manages to take the film trope of two or more characters’ individual lives eventually entangling, it’s ‘The Departed’.

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