‘Departed’ keeps viewers on edge

Kendra Butters

Complete with a star-studded cast, a plot filled with deception and turns and a few over-the-top Boston accents, “The Departed,” directed by Martin Scorcese, captures and retains the audience’s attention for the whole 150 minutes.

The film is based on the 2002 Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs,” and is well-written with many twists and turns that not only involve but surprise the audience as each twist is revealed. “The Departed” portrays the battle between organized crime and the police in and around the Boston area. To make things difficult, however, each side has successfully infiltrated the other. It is only a matter of time until each side discovers the other. The suspense builds by determining which side will uncover the identity of the traitor first.

Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) is the godfather in an Irish gang, and more or less runs the town and surrounding community. Nicholson successfully forces both the characters opposite him on screen and the viewers in the audience to fear him. Costello becomes a surrogate father to an adolescent Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and influences him throughout his youth, following his graduation from the police academy and his assignment to the Special Investigations Unit. The plot thickens as Sullivan is assigned to investigate Costello.

One of Sullivan’s classmates at the academy is Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose family has a history of involvement with organized crime. Due to his history, Oliver Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) are at first skeptical of his reliability. After an elaborate cover-up, Costigan is infiltrated into the Irish Mafia under the watchful eye of Queenan and Dignam, and the suspicious eye of Costello.

As with any mafia-related movie, there are enough guts, blood, curses and heads blown off to satisfy gore-seekers. Scorcese does a good job counterbalancing this with the comedic relief of Dignam and his off-beat sarcasm.

Despite the strength of the cast, Sullivan and Costigan’s love interest, Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), is a bit far-fetched and non-essential to the development of the film. Farmiga’s Boston accent is also overdone and detracts from her role.

Overall, “The Departed” captures viewers from the opening scene and leaves them wanting more as the credits roll in the final minute.