Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martin Scorsese|
|Written by||William Monahan|
|Based on||Infernal Affairs |
by Alan Mak
|Music by||Howard Shore|
|Edited by||Thelma Schoonmaker|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$291.5 million|
The Departed is a 2006 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The Departed stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg, with Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.
The film takes place in Boston. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Nicholson) plants Colin Sullivan (Damon) as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police; simultaneously, the police assign undercover state trooper William "Billy" Costigan (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, Sullivan and Costigan each attempt to discover the other's identity before they are found out. The character Colin Sullivan is loosely based on the corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, while the character Frank Costello is based on gangster Whitey Bulger.
The Departed was a critical and commercial success, and won several awards, including four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing; Wahlberg was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1986 South Boston, young Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is introduced to crime by Irish Mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). By 2006, he has groomed Sullivan as a mole inside the Massachusetts State Police (MSP). Sullivan is accepted into its Special Investigations Unit, led by Captain Ellerby (Alec Baldwin), which targets organized crime.
Another recruit, William "Billy" Costigan Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), is approached by Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) to go undercover before graduating from the MSP's academy, as his family's ties to organized crime make him a perfect infiltrator of Costello's crew. He acts as an MSP academy dropout and serves time in prison on a phony battery and assault charge; he subsequently joins Frank's crew after gaining his attention and proving he is no longer a cop. Ellerby informs Special Investigations that they will not know the identities of Queenan and Dignam's undercover cops, and explains that Costello's crew has stolen computer microprocessors to sell to a Chinese gang. Queenan and Dignam separately inform Billy and they all build their case to arrest Costello. As Billy is accepted as a member of Frank's crew, his mental state declines as a result of his involvement. Queenan and Dignam tell him there is a rat in the Special Investigations Unit and plead with him to stay undercover until the deal takes place.
In 2007, Sullivan begins a romance with police psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Vera Farmiga). Billy also sees her professionally as a condition of his probation and being involved in Frank's crew. The MSP is ready to catch Frank selling the microprocessors, but the deal takes place off-camera and everyone escapes, enraging Ellerby. Frank realizes there is a rat infiltrating his crew. Sullivan, whose relationship with Madolyn is becoming more serious, is promoted to the MSP's Internal Investigations unit and tasked by Frank to find the rat. Sullivan tells him to deliver personal information for all of his crew members so he can cross-reference them in the MSP database. Meanwhile, Billy learns that Costello is an FBI informant. Frank accuses Billy of being the rat, but Billy denies it. He immediately tells Queenan that Frank is an FBI informant, is aware of a mole in his crew, and is becoming increasingly paranoid.
Later, Billy follows Frank into a porn theater, where he witnesses Frank give Sullivan the envelope containing the information he was asking for. Queenan gives Billy specific instructions to get a visual ID of Sullivan before making the arrest. Billy chases him through Chinatown, but is unable to see his face. When Billy's ringtone goes off, Sullivan realizes he's being followed and prepares to stab Billy, but accidentally kills a civilian. As he runs away, he realizes he and the person following him have been captured on a security camera, but he is unable to recognize Billy on the camera's footage.
Sullivan meets with Queenan after his promotion and is advised to follow Costello to find his rat in the police department. Frank waits for a call from Sullivan to find the rat in his crew, and tells Billy to take the day off and miss the upcoming job. Afraid, Billy calls Queenan to meet at an abandoned warehouse. Sullivan orders Queenan tailed to the meeting. When Frank's men arrive, Queenan helps Billy escape to preserve his cover before confronting them alone. They drop Queenan to his death before engaging in a brief shootout with police. Sullivan's officers mortally wound crew member Delahunt in the gunfight; at Costello's compound, Delahunt tells Billy he knew he was the mole, and Billy contemplates killing him to keep him quiet moments before he dies. Television news states that Delahunt had been an undercover cop, but Frank recognizes this as a ploy to protect the real informant. Incensed at learning Sullivan ordered a tail on Queenan, Dignam attacks him and is subsequently suspended by Ellerby; Dignam resigns instead. A vulnerable Billy goes to Madolyn's apartment and they have sex.
Using Queenan's phone, Sullivan reaches Billy, who refuses to abort his mission. Sullivan learns from Queenan's diary that Frank is a protected FBI informant, causing him to worry about his own identity being revealed. With Billy's help, Frank is tailed to a cocaine drop-off, where a gunfight erupts between the crew and the police. Most of the crew are killed. An enraged Sullivan confronts Frank, who admits he is an FBI informant. When he suddenly draws a gun, Sullivan fatally shoots him and is congratulated as a hero by the police.
With Frank dead and the operation wrapped up, Billy goes to Sullivan to restore his true identity. Billy then notices Frank's envelope on Sullivan's desk, realizes Sullivan is the mole, and flees. Sullivan realizes Billy saw the envelope and erases Billy's records from the police computer system to take away his credibility. Billy hands Madolyn an envelope containing the recordings of conversations which incriminate Sullivan as a mole, instructing her to open it only if something happens to him. Meanwhile, Madolyn has moved in with Sullivan and informs him she is pregnant with a son. As Sullivan takes a shower, Madolyn finds a letter addressed to him from Billy. She opens the letter, which also contains the tapes, listens to them, and angrily leaves Sullivan.
Billy arranges to meet Sullivan at the building where Queenan died; he handcuffs Sullivan at gunpoint when he arrives. Billy had also called Trooper Brown, a friend of his from the academy, to substantiate his identity, but Brown pulls a gun on Billy when he arrives, unsure who is telling the truth; Billy says he has evidence tying Sullivan to Costello's operations, and Brown reluctantly lets him go down the elevator. Upon reaching the lobby, Billy is shot and killed by Trooper Barrigan from Special Investigations, who also kills Brown before revealing himself as a second mole working for Costello. Sullivan shoots Barrigan dead and publicly frames him as the only mole, clearing his own name.
At Billy's funeral, Sullivan notices that Madolyn is tearful. She ignores him when he attempts to speak to her. Later, Sullivan arrives at his apartment, but Dignam is waiting there and kills him. As Dignam leaves, a rat races across the balcony.
- Leonardo DiCaprio as William "Billy" Costigan
- Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan
- Conor Donovan as young Colin
- Mark Wahlberg as Sean Dignam
- Jack Nicholson as Francis "Frank" Costello
- Martin Sheen as Capt. Oliver Queenan
- Ray Winstone as Arnold French
- Vera Farmiga as Dr. Madolyn Madden
- Alec Baldwin as Capt. George Ellerby
- Anthony Anderson as Trooper Brown
- Kevin Corrigan as Sean Costigan
- James Badge Dale as Trooper Barrigan
- David O'Hara as Patrick "Fitzy" Fitzgibbons
- Mark Rolston as Timothy Delahunt
- Robert Wahlberg as FBI Special Agent Frank Lazio
- Kristen Dalton as Gwen
- Amanda Lynch as Carmen
- Shay Duffin as Phil
- Richard Hughes as Uncle Ed Costigan
In January 2003, Warner Bros., producer Brad Grey, and actor/producer Brad Pitt bought the rights to remake the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002) from Media Asia for $1.75 million. William Monahan was secured as a screenwriter, and later Martin Scorsese, who admired Monahan's script, came on board as director.
In March 2004, United Press International announced that Scorsese would be remaking Infernal Affairs and setting it in Boston, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were slated to star. Pitt, tentatively scheduled to play Sullivan, later declined to play the role, saying a younger actor should play the part; he decided to produce the film instead. Scorsese's associate Kenneth Lonergan suggested Matt Damon, who grew up in Boston, for the part of Sullivan, and Scorsese asked Jack Nicholson to play Costello.
Nicholson wanted the film to have "something a little more" than the usual gangster film, and screenwriter Monahan came up with the idea of basing the Costello character on Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger. This gave the screenplay an element of realism – and an element of dangerous uncertainty, because of the wide-ranging carte blanche the FBI gave Bulger in exchange for revealing information about fellow gangsters. A technical consultant on the film was Tom Duffy, who had served three decades on the Boston Police Department, particularly as an undercover detective investigating the Irish mob.
The Departed was officially greenlit by Warners in early 2005 and began shooting in the spring of 2005. Some of the film was shot on location in Boston. For budgetary and logistical reasons many scenes, in particular interiors, were shot in locations and sets in New York City, which had tax incentives for filmmakers that Boston at the time did not.
Themes and motifs
Film critic Stanley Kauffmann said that for The Departed, Scorsese "was apparently concerned with the idea of identity, one of the ancient themes of drama, and how it affects one’s actions, emotions, self-knowledge, even dreams." Kaufmann, however, did not find the theme conveyed with particular effectiveness in the film.
The father-son relationship is a motif throughout the film. Costello acts as a father figure to both Sullivan and Costigan, while Queenan acts as Costello's foil in the role of a father figure. Sullivan addresses Costello as "Dad" whenever he calls to inform him of police activities.
In the final scene, a rat is seen on Sullivan's window ledge. Scorsese acknowledges that while it is not meant to be taken literally, it somewhat symbolizes the "quest for the rat" in the film and the strong sense of distrust among the characters, much like post-9/11 U.S. The window view behind the rat is a nod to gangster films like Little Caesar (1931), Scarface (1932), and White Heat (1949).
Throughout the film, Scorsese uses an "X" motif to foreshadow death in a manner similar to Howard Hawks' classic film Scarface (1932). Examples include (but are not limited to) shots of cross-beam supports in an airport walkway when Costigan is phoning Sgt. Dignam, the taped windows of the building Queenan enters before being thrown to his death, behind Costigan's head in the elevator before he is shot, and the carpeted hallway floor when Sullivan returns to his apartment before being shot by Dignam at the film's end.
The Departed grossed $132.4 million in the United States and Canada and $159 million in other territories for a total gross of $291.5 million, against a production budget of $90 million.
The film grossed $26.9 million in its opening weekend, becoming the third Scorsese film to debut at number one. In the following three weeks the film grossed $19 million, $13.5 million and $9.8 million, finishing second at the box office each time, before grossing $7.7 million and dropping to 5th in its fifth week.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 91% approval rating based on 278 reviews, with an average rating of 8.25/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality we come to expect from Martin Scorsese." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 85 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade "best of" list, saying: "If they're lucky, directors make one classic film in their career. Martin Scorsese has one per decade (Taxi Driver in the '70s, Raging Bull in the '80s, Goodfellas in the '90s). His 2006 Irish Mafia masterpiece kept the streak alive."
Online critic James Berardinelli awarded the film four stars out of four, praising it as "an American epic tragedy." He went on to claim that the film deserves to be ranked alongside Scorsese's past successes, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas.
Andrew Lau, the co-director of Infernal Affairs, who was interviewed by Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, said: "Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too. [Scorsese] made the Hollywood version more attuned to American culture." Andy Lau, one of the main actors in Infernal Affairs, when asked how the movie compares to the original, said: "The Departed was too long and it felt as if Hollywood had combined all three Infernal Affairs movies together." Although Lau said the script of the remake had some "golden quotes", he also felt it had a bit too much profanity. He ultimately rated The Departed 8/10 and said that the Hollywood remake is worth a view, though according to Lau's spokeswoman Alice Tam, he felt that the combination of the two female characters into one in The Departed was not as good as the original storyline.
A few critics were disappointed in the film, including J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, who wrote: "Infernal Affairs was surprisingly cool and effectively restrained for HK action, but Scorsese raises the temperature with every ultraviolent interaction. The surplus of belligerence and slur reach near-Tarantinian levels—appropriate as he’s staking a claim to QT’s turf."
Top ten lists
The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006. Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal, Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it one of the top ten films of 2006. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times named it the best film of the 2000s.
At the 64th Golden Globe Awards on January 15, 2007, The Departed won one award for Best Director (Martin Scorsese), while being nominated for five other awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg), and Best Screenplay (William Monahan).
At the 79th Academy Awards on February 25, 2007, The Departed won four Academy Awards: Best Picture (Graham King), Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker), and Best Adapted Screenplay Writing (William Monahan). Mark Wahlberg was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance, but he lost to Alan Arkin for his role in Little Miss Sunshine.
The film marked the first time Scorsese won an Oscar after six previous losses. Many felt that he deserved it years earlier for prior efforts. Some have even gone further, calling it a Lifetime Achievement Award for a lesser film. Scorsese himself joked that he won because: "This is the first movie I've done with a plot." While accepting the award, Scorsese stated that "I just want to say, too, that so many people over the years have been wishing this for me, strangers, you know. I go walking in the street people say something to me, I go in a doctor's office, I go in a...whatever...elevators, people are saying, "You should win one, you should win one." I go for an x-ray, "You should win one." And I'm saying, "Thank you." And then friends of mine over the years and friends who are here tonight are wishing this for me and my family. I thank you. This is for you."
At the 11th Satellite Awards on December 18, 2006, The Departed won awards for Best Ensemble, Motion Picture, Best Motion Picture, Drama, Best Screenplay – Adapted (William Monahan), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Leonardo DiCaprio). In 2008, it was nominated for the American Film Institute Top 10 Gangster Films list
The Departed was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2007. The film is available in a single-disc full screen (1.33:1), single-disc widescreen (2.40:1) edition, and 2-disc special edition. The second disc contains deleted scenes; a feature about the influence of New York’s Little Italy on Scorsese; a Turner Classic Movies profile; and a 21-minute documentary titled Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed about the crimes that influenced Scorsese in creating the film, including the story of James "Whitey" Bulger, upon whom Jack Nicholson's character is based.
The Region 1 version has three available audio tracks: English, Spanish, and French (all of which are in Dolby Digital 5.1), and three subtitle tracks (English, Spanish, French). The film was released on HD DVD and Blu-ray at the same time as the standard-definition DVD. The 2-Disc Special Edition was packaged in a Limited Edition Steelbook. It marked the first time that an Oscar-winning Best Picture was released to the home video market in DVD format only, as VHS was phased out by the start of 2006.
There were two albums released for The Departed, one presenting the original score composed for the film by Howard Shore, and the other featuring earlier recordings, mostly pop/rock songs, which were used on the soundtrack.
|The Departed: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||November 7, 2006|
|Genre||Rock, country, pop|
As with previous Scorsese films, Robbie Robertson had a hand in picking the music. The film opens with "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones ("Let It Loose" also appears later on), and prominently plays "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys with lyrics written by Woody Guthrie, which gained the band some popularity and their first and only platinum-selling single. The film features the live version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" from the 1990 Berlin Wall concert performed by Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and Rick Danko, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson of The Band.
Although "Gimme Shelter" is featured twice in the film, the song does not appear on the album soundtrack. Also heard in the movie but not featured on the soundtrack is "Thief's Theme" by Nas, "Well Well Well" by John Lennon, "Bang Bang" by Joe Cuba, and the Act II Sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.
|1.||"Comfortably Numb"||Roger Waters (Feat. Van Morrison & The Band)||7:59|
|2.||"Sail On, Sailor"||The Beach Boys||3:18|
|3.||"Let It Loose"||The Rolling Stones||5:18|
|4.||"Sweet Dreams"||Roy Buchanan||3:32|
|5.||"One Way Out"||The Allman Brothers Band||4:57|
|7.||"I'm Shipping Up to Boston"||Dropkick Murphys||2:34|
|8.||"Nobody but Me"||The Human Beinz||2:18|
|9.||"Tweedle Dee"||LaVern Baker||3:10|
|10.||"Sweet Dreams (of You)"||Patsy Cline||2:34|
|11.||"The Departed Tango"||Howard Shore, Marc Ribot||3:32|
|12.||"Beacon Hill"||Howard Shore, Sharon Isbin||2:33|
The film score for The Departed was written by Howard Shore and performed by guitarists Sharon Isbin, G. E. Smith, Larry Saltzman and Marc Ribot. The score was recorded in Shore's own studio in New York State. The album, The Departed: Original Score, was released December 5, 2006 by New Line, and produced by Jason Cienkus.
Although many of the key characters in the film are dead by the movie's end, there was a script written for a sequel. This was ultimately shelved due to the expense and Scorsese's lack of interest in creating a sequel.
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