starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg
written by William Monahan
directed by Martin Scorsese
Do you remember the Al Pacino movie Scorpio? Well, The Departed is like Scorpio on steroids - lots of steroids. It’s a story about corrupt police, gangsters so powerful that they are untouchable by the law (or, they are subtly protected by the police departments that nominally hunt them because they themselves are informers on their own criminal peers), long-term undercover police officers infiltrating both the criminal gangs and the police department itself searching for gangster moles. No one knowing who to trust; anyone could be an informer including the ones with the spotless record and reputation; a high-stress life filled with betrayals, double betrayals, and more. It’s all very complex and you have to pay attention to the dialog to figure it all out. That’s why I hate it when my wife interrupts to ask questions about the plot that she could figure out by herself if she just talked less and paid more attention - which is essentially what I tell her.
What is it with American movies, stories and the supposed cultures of Irish or Italian or black multi-generational organized crime families and neighborhood-based social and family networks? Irish gangs in traditional Irish neighborhoods of Boston? Hell, they’re not Irish. They’re American. And the neighborhoods where they live are not “Irish” any more. I hate morons who confuse their ethnicity with their nationality. But it is a common confusion, isn’t it? I mean, nowadays people often confuse nationality with race or ethnicity rather than properly identifying it with citizenship. Strongly ethno-centric criminal cultures seem to produce the worst of such morons. They are the ones who almost deliberately miss-take their own identity, wear it like a badge on their clothes and then believe their own guff. El stupido! In American films it seems that the Irish gangsters are the worst: always portrayed as pathetically hung up on their psychotic and dysfunctional Irishness, they live in perpetual pride of long-past accomplishments that were largely make-believe to begin with. I’m tired of films about pea-brained American criminals who think they are Irish. Remember, looked at from the Irish perspective, they are American, just as Japanese Americans are in no way Japanese to Japanese eyes.
The F-word is liberally sprinkled throughout the script. It’s meant to sound tough and it’s use can make my hair stand on end in some situations. But its over-use here was just tiresome.
Oh, the movie was excellent. I loved it and watched it three times before returning the disk to the rental shop. But you be your own judge.