‘The Departed’ is an entertaining thriller with great storytelling. The Martin Scorcese helmed film went on to win Best Picture and Best Director Oscar in 2016. Almost everything about the movie is so perfect, that it easily escapes the label of a remake. The multi-layered plot revolves around several characters, the central figure of which is Frank Costello, a notorious gangster, who dabbles in everything from computer microchips to automatic rifles. While the FBI manage to put a rat on his squad, he manages to put one in theirs to make for a riveting story with a plethora of twists.
Scorcese is a filmmaker who needs no introduction. Arguably the most versatile auteur of his generation, Scorcese specializes in gangster movies, with credits like ‘Casino’, ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Mean Street’. His eye for capturing the essence of the people in this line and the nature of their work is second to none. With ‘The Departed’, though, Scorcese takes it a step further. In the film, he blurs the line between the good and the bad. The film throws everyone in the same pot and lets you decide which side you want to take.
‘The Departed’ is a remake of ‘Internal Affairs’, a 2002 Chinese film directed by Andrew Lau. Although the overall designs of the films are similar, along with dramatic undertones, Scorcese infuses ‘The Departed’ with style and typically detailed notes from his cinematic universe. The large-scale and diverse spread of film’s themes calls for an explanation. And here it is!
(NOTE: Spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.)
‘The Departed’ starts with the tales of two young boys with similar ambitions in life but different backgrounds. On the one hand, Collin Sullivan gets the backing of local gangster Frank Costello and goes on to be accepted into the Special Investigations Unit, while on the other, Billy Costigan faces the ire of police personnel due to the criminal background of his family and is rejected a normal job in the force. Instead, he is employed as an undercover agent and sent to prison on fraudulent charges to fortify his credibility — the two work for the same organization but in different capacities. Their fate brings them together in a porn theater, along with a common link: Costello. After a brief and tense cat and mouse chase, the two escape unscathed, with neither being able to get the other’s identity.