Reviewed by: Joseph Martinez
|Featuring||Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson, James Badge Dale, Kristen Dalton Gerard McSorley, David O'Hara, Mark Ralston|
|Producer||Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Gianni Nunnari|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“The Departed” is one of the best films of the year. Martin Scorsese has redeemed himself from recent releases such as “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York.” While those two films were “good” pictures, they were not excellent, they did not reach the bar that Scorsese had set with many of his previous pictures, most notably “Goodfellas.” “The Departed” takes place in Boston, exploring the Irish mob underworld and the Massachusetts State Police. Good guys versus bad guys with a twist, there is good and bad on both sides.
Jack Nicholson plays Frank Costello, a witty, evil mobster that audiences will love to hate. Frank is the ultimate evolutionist, he embodies survival of the fittest and would sell his own mother if he could make a good a buck out of it. Matt Damon delivers one of his best performances as Colin Sullivan. Sullivan is worse than a dirty cop, he is a planted mole who is only loyal to himself. Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar® nomination for his role as Billy Costigan. While detractors may bark that he is not pushing any new ground playing an undercover cop, I would quickly point out that this is the best performance ever by an actor playing an undercover cop. DiCaprio becomes Costigan, his accent and facial expressions are gritty and real, the audience instantly understands how he feels from moment to moment. Only a Best Actor loss to Forrest Whittaker for “The Last King of Scotland” can be allowed come next March when the Academy Awards are handed out.
All praise aside, looking at this film through the eyes of a believer there are lessons to be learned. While there is no nudity, there are some strong sexual scenes, plenty of violence and enough foul language to make a sailor blush. Parents should not allow children to see this film at all, and should see it before they allow their teenagers to view it. The film is a lesson in sin and its inevitable consequences. As Jesus said, “a man will reap what he sows.” The characters on the opposite side of the law are sowing death, mayhem and murder, and it catches up to them. It also caught up the good guys, and unfortunately that is the result of a sinful world.
One thing that stands out is Matt Damon’s performance as Colin Sullivan. As much as we may hate him and want him to be caught, we cannot also help but identify with him and hope he reforms before he gets exposed. The reason is because there is a small part of him in all of us. A bit of a dual role, where we play the good guy on the outside and struggle with the bad guy within. While our individual sinful natures have not plunged to the depth’s of Sullivan’s, in the eyes of Christ, sin committed in the heart is just as offensive to a Holy God as sin committed outwardly. It is important that as believers we have the correct view of self, in light of who Jesus Christ is.
The lesson from Sullivan’s character, for the believer, is not to let sin entangle us to a point where we are trapped by it, but to be open and accountable to others; transparency is the best way to fight hypocrisy. Now obviously, Damon’s character takes it to the extreme, but pictures of the extreme always have a way of bringing things close to home. Damon’s character tries to play both sides, not the good and the bad, but for the mob and for himself, and in the end he gains nothing from it.
Without giving a way too much of the story, Jesus spoke of this mindset in Luke 12:2,
“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
This film reveals a bit of the depravity of a world without God, a world without hope. It paints the picture of a world living by the consequences of an Evolutionary mindset where everyman is out for only himself.
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