One of the best casts ever assembled, punch each other, whilst being cool as fuck.
Director Martin Scorsese’s long term friend and collaborator Robert De Niro was the first choice to play imposing crime boss Frank Costello but he had to to decline as he was busy directing a much more po faced and boring flick The Good Shepherd. Scorsese instead settled on Jack Nicholson and that stroke of good fortune breathes a new lease of life into Scorsese’s work with The Departed.
De Niro is great but we have seen him play this kind of character numerous times under Scorsese and Nicholson is on blinding form here – snapping, shouting and snarling his way through the film like The Joker, Jack Torrance and R.P. McMurphy combined, Jacky is a revelation.
Elsewhere the verbal interplay between the ridiculously strong supporting cast of Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberb, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin is a joy and Di Caprio even by his immaculate standards really shines. Every time Di Caprio and Wahlberg share a scene the tension is tangible and Matt Damon is at his understated best in the kind of role he always thrives in.
As we have come to expect from Scorsese the direction and the choice of soundtrack are absolutely impeccable. The action is breathless and ongoing in the vain of Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street rather than more considered slow burners Raging Bull and Casino and this puts The Departed right up there with Scorsese’s best work.