* * * * A
The Departed is a 2006 gangster pic by Martin Scorsese that stars Jack Nicholson as mob boss Frank Costello, Matt Damon as ambitious state policeman Colin Sullivan, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan, an undercover cop. The rich plot involves the interplay on one hand between Costello, who knows he has been infiltrated, and Costigan, and on the other, police chief Quinnen (Martin Sheen), who knows he has a mole in his department, and Sullivan, who becomes the special investigator assigned to Costello.
I won’t spoil the plot for you. It’s complex, with plenty of twists and turns and a great though tragic ending. Nicholson, Damon, and DiCaprio all turn in great performances. They are surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Vera Farmiga plays Sullivan’s girlfriend who also becomes Costigan’s psychiatrist. Ray Winstone is fantastic as Costello’s enforcer, French. Alec Baldwin is solid as the clueless head of special investigations, while Mark Wahlberg plays the incredibly unlikable Digman, who seems to respect only his chief.
I can’t think of another film in this genre that I like better. Nicholson plays a fantastic, almost likeable yet terrifying villain. DiCaprio’s Costigan is tormented by his ordeal, being forced to associated with Costello and his gang. Matt Damon turns in a performance reminiscent of his starring role in The Talented Mister Ripley, as he becomes ever more entangled with Costello and is forced to slowly give up his own humanity. I highly recommend this film.