#4- The Departed (2006)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- David "MVP" Eckstein: #4
- Bryan Hernandez: #4
- Daniel Bennett: #9
- The 'Bright' One: #12

Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: William Monahan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, and Martin Sheen
Based Upon: The Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs directed by Alan Mak and Andrew Lau.

The Plot

The Boston Police Department is on a manhunt to stop one of the city's most powerful gangs led by Frank Costello (Nicholson). To help stop Costello, the BDP places Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) as a mole in Costello's gang. On the other hand Frank Costello has a mole in the BDP- Colin Sullivan (Damon). The Boston Police Department promotes Sullivan to search for Costello's mole within the BDP. While leading the task force Sullivan searches out for the BDP mole within Costello's gang while Billy Costigan searches for Frank Costello's mole within the BDP. The movie turns into a double cat and mouse chase as Cositgan and Sullivan each search out to find the true identity of other one.

Why This Movie Is Great

Martin Scorsese's second appearance on this list (or first which ever way you want to look at it) is a certifiable bad ass movie. During one of the first scenes of the film, Billy Costigan gets accosted for drinking cranberry juice by a bar patron. "It's a natural diuretic. My girlfriend drinks it when she's get her period. What, do you got your period?" DiCaprio looks at the patron and then proceeds to smash his glass in the man's face and beat the crap out of him. The film slam on the gas and never lets up until the ending credits role.

The Departed is the ultimate cat and mouse movie. Billy Costigan is on the look out for Colin Sullivan while Colin Sullivan is on the look out for Billy Costigan while at the same time each men is on a search to find the mole: themselves.

Sullivan was raised by Frank Costello and was bred to be a gangster. In order to fulfill his "gangster duties" Costello sends Sullivan to be his personal spy within the Boston Police Department. On the other side, all Billy Costigan wants to do is be a police officer. After excelling in the Academy but before even becoming remotely entrenched within the BDP (therefore no cops will be able to recognize Costigan which makes Costigan the perfect mole) Billy's first assignment as a police officer is to become a gangster.

Not only does Scorsese tell an amazing story and keeps you on the edge of your seat as he navigates you through the twists and turns of this cat and mouse chase but the film gets another dynamic layer as Scorsese smartly chooses to set the film in Boston. Recently I ranked The Departed as the second best Boston movie of all time. The reason the film works so well in Boston is because the film has a motif of guilt running through it. Boston has one of the biggest percentages of Irish-Catholics in America and what are Irish-Catholics known for: guilt. Plus, Colin tells Madolyn one night, "what Freud said about the Irish is we're the only people impervious to psychoanalysis." The story works so well because the main characters are Irish-Catholic and there's no better place to set a story about Irish-Catholics (other than Ireland itself) than Boston, Massachusetts.

Both Sullivan and Billy struggle with their newfound roles that they have and both have to confide in police therapist Madolyn (Farmiga). Both men have grown up knowing one thing and now each one is conflicted by living a lie in a world in which they don't belong in while having that Irish-Catholic guilt wash over them.

Martin Scorsese FINALLY won an Academy Award for Best Director for his work on The Departed (the second best film he's ever made behind Goodfellas) which helped propel the movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Other Notes
- Jack Nicholson's character, Frank Costello, was based after the most infamous man in Boston's history: Whitey Bulger . Bulger was finally captured in the summer of 2011 at the age of 81.
- I love Leo DiCapro but he's terrible at accents. He couldn't do one in Blood Diamonds and he couldn't do a Boston accent in The Departed. Jack Nicholson realized he couldn't do one so he just said "fuck it" and spoke normally.