×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Departed

The Contenders

Release: Oct. 6

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Oscar Alums: Jack Nicholson (actor, “As Good as It Gets,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”; supporting actor, “Terms of Endearment”), Matt Damon (screenplay, “Good Will Hunting”), Howard Shore (score, “LOTR: Return of the King,” “LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring,” song, “LOTR: Return of the King”), Thelma Schoonmaker (editing, “The Aviator,” “Raging Bull”), Sandy Powell (costume design, “The Aviator,” “Shakespeare in Love”), John Caglione Jr. (makeup, “Dick Tracy”), Robert Legato (visual effects, “Titanic”)

There’s something to be said for the sheer ambition of Martin Scorsese’s last few epics, from his visionary street-brawl saga “Gangs of New York” to the sprawling Howard Hughes biopic “The Aviator,” and yet “The Departed” proves a far better showcase for the director’s abilities.

Popular on Variety

Scorsese is a natural with the crime drama, so it’s no surprise that he could take a high-concept Hong Kong thriller like “Infernal Affairs” and turn it into a blood-soaked, white-knuckle suspenser that’s every bit as profound as it is entertaining.

In an Oscar race filled with studio-hyped message movies, “The Departed” rose on its own merits. Critics embraced it while audiences have made “The Departed” the director’s all-time top-performing pic at the box office.

That success no doubt depends in large part on its all-star cast, who deliver first-rate performances across the board.

Given the pic’s ensemble nature, Warner has decided to enter everyone in the supporting category. Considering the number of deserving male perfs, “The Departed” could fill the category on its own.

In Leonardo DiCaprio’s case, his scruffy character finally allows the actor a chance to shatter the pretty-boy curse that’s dogged his grown-up career. Too bad he’s counting on “Blood Diamond” to earn a shot in the lead actor race, because this is really the performance of his career.

Matt Damon is equally impressive as DiCaprio’s dirty-cop counterpart, while Jack Nicholson seems to have modeled his mentally deteriorating crime boss on a runaway version of his own star persona.

Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen make precious use of their limited screen time.

There’s a strong buzz surrounding William Monahan’s screenplay, which he adapted from a translation of the Chinese original. His “Deadwood”-sharp dialogue and Shakespearean sense of tragedy make “The Departed” the first modern East-West adaptation to so completely transcend the original material.

Longtime Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus are operating in full service of the film here, elegantly alternating between the movie’s many threads.

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Hollywood’s 10 Worst Depictions of Female Music Journalists

    As controversy builds around “Richard Jewell” and its depiction of female journalists, it’s nothing new for women music writers on the silver screen. Although “Crazy Heart,” which premiered 10 years ago this month, was basically 2009’s equivalent of Bradley Cooper’s remake of “A Star Is Born,” it hasn’t had quite the staying power of some [...]

  • MADRID-CONTENT-CITY-RAUL-BERDONÉS

    Secuoya, Planeta Launch Madrid Content City, Site of Netflix’s First European Production Hub

    Spain’s Secuoya Studios has teamed with publishing giant the Planeta Group to expand Madrid Content City, the audiovisual complex that hosts Netflix first European Production Hub. Madrid Content City will multiply by a factor of seven its current operating area of 22,000 square-meters (236,806 square-feet). In total, Madrid Content City will span 140,000 square-meters (1.5 [...]

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content