Films to See Before You Die: #29 The Departed

the departed

The Departed (2006)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Jack Nicholson

Synopsis: In South Boston, the state police force is waging war on Irish-American organized crime leader Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), is recruited by an elite undercover task force led by Captain Queenan and Staff Sgt. Dignam (Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg), to infiltrate Costello’s gang. Costello has an ace up his sleeve in Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he is involved with. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst. Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy-and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself. It isn’t until both are cleared of suspicion and Sullivan is put in charge of finding the mole in the department that their lives truly begin to unravel.

Trivia: Leonardo DiCaprio was cast in the title role in The Good Shepherd, but he dropped out to play Billy Costigan in this movie. Matt Damon then took the role. Robert De Niro turned down the role of Queenan to appear in The Good Shepherd. This is the movie with the most uses of the word “fuck” and its derivatives (237) to win the Best Picture Oscar. Mark Wahlberg based his performance on the police officers who’d arrested him about two dozen times in his youth, and the reactions of his parents who had to come bail him out with their grocery money.

Why I think you should see this: Martin Scorsese has continuously been making some of the best movies over the last 40 years and the Departed is no exception. There are no real standouts in the cast because this is a true ensemble film to its core but I have to say Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg delivered some pretty entertaining performances. While this is not Scorsese’s best films it has the distinction of being the only one he made thayt won him a Best Director Oscar. Check this one out its a real gritty cops and robbers film with an interesting twist.

Films to See Before You Die: #51 Gangs of New York


Gangs of New York (2002)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson

Synopsis: Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), is the leader of the Dead Rabbits an Irish Gang in 1846, New York. They are currently in a war with the “Natives”, who are lead by Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), a ruthless business owner who believes only true Americans have the right to live there, not immigrants like the Irish. One day the Natives and the Irish take to the streets in an all out battle, where Priest Vallon is eventually killed by The Butcher in front of his son Amsterdam. Years later Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), returns to New York in a quest to get vengeance on Bill. After arriving back in New York he learns that Butcher Bill is more powerful than ever and the only way to get close to him will be to join his gang. While working for his gang he meets a young pickpocket Jenny (Cameron Diaz), who eventually aids him in his plan for revenge. In a final confrontation with Bill the whole city of New York is in riots, now Amsterdam must get his revenge before the city goes up in flames.

Trivia: Leonardo DiCaprio accidentally broke Daniel Day-Lewis’ nose while filming a fight scene. Day-Lewis continued to film the scene despite the injury. Bill Cutting, the film’s xenophobic antagonist, has a particular dislike for Irish immigrants. Daniel Day-Lewis is a naturalized citizen of Ireland.

Why I think you should see this: This is the first pairing between Scorsese and DiCaprio and it is an amazing film. The battle scenes a gruesomely amazing and the sets are so true to life its just too cool. Daniel Day-Lewis is at his most despicable in this film which also may be his best performance this side of There Will Be Blood. This is a gritty and violent film but definitely worth checking out sometime.