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Billy Costigan

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Billy Costigan

For other uses, see The Departed (disambiguation).
The Departed
File:Departed234.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by
Screenplay by William Monahan
Based on Infernal Affairs 
by Alan Mak
Felix Chong
Starring
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker
Studio
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s)
Running time 151 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million[1]
Box office $289,847,354[1]

The Departed is a 2006 American crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.[2] The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg, with Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.

It won several awards, including four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Scorsese), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Wahlberg was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

The film takes place in Boston. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello plants Colin Sullivan as a mole within the Massachusetts State Police; the two characters are loosely based on famous gangster Whitey Bulger and corrupt FBI agent John Connolly, who grew up with Bulger.[3][4] Simultaneously, the police assign undercover cop William "Billy" Costigan to infiltrate Costello's crew. When both sides realize the situation, each man attempts to discover the other's true identity before his own cover is blown.

Plot

Colin Sullivan (Damon) is introduced to organized crime by Irish-American mobster Frank Costello (Nicholson) in the Irish neighborhood of South Boston. Costello trains him to become a mole inside the Massachusetts State Police. Sullivan is accepted into the Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on organized crime.

Before he graduates from the police academy, Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is asked by Captain Queenan (Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Dignam (Wahlberg) to go undercover, as his family ties to organized crime make him a perfect infiltrator. He drops out of the academy and does time in prison on a fake assault charge to increase his credibility.

As both men infiltrate their respective organizations, Sullivan begins a romance with psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Farmiga). Costigan sees her for his probation and develops a relationship with her, as well.

After Costello escapes a sting operation, both moles become aware of each other's existence. Sullivan is told to find the "rat" and asks Costello for information to determine who is the informer within his crew.

Costigan follows Costello into a cinema, where Costello gives Sullivan an envelope containing personal information on his crew members. Costigan then chases Sullivan through Chinatown. When it is over, neither man knows the other's identity. Sullivan has Queenan tailed to a meeting with Costigan, and Costello's men kill Queenan. When they exit, Costigan pretends he has come to join them. Television news reveals that crew member Delahunt (Rolston) has been an undercover cop. Dignam is forced to step down as a consequence.

Using Queenan's phone, Sullivan reaches Costigan, who refuses to abort his mission. Sullivan learns of Costello's role as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation from Queenan's diary, causing him to worry about his own identity being revealed. With Costigan's help, Costello is traced to a cocaine drop-off, where a gunfight erupts between his crew and police, resulting in most of the crew's being killed. Costello, confronted by Sullivan, admits he is an occasional FBI informant. Sullivan then shoots him multiple times. With Costello dead, Sullivan is applauded the next day by everyone on the force. In good faith, Costigan comes to him for restoration of his true identity and to be paid for his work, but notices the envelope from Costello on Sullivan's desk and flees, finally realizing Sullivan is the enemy. Knowing he has been found out, Sullivan erases all records of Costigan from the police computer system.

Madolyn tells Sullivan she is pregnant, but does not reveal who the father is. Later, she discovers a package from Costigan containing a CD with recordings of Costello's conversations with Sullivan. Sullivan walks in as she is listening and tries unsuccessfully to assuage her suspicions. He contacts Costigan, who reveals that Costello recorded every conversation he had with Sullivan. Costello's attorney left Costigan in possession of the recordings and he intends to implicate Sullivan. They agree to meet at the building where Queenan died.

On the roof, Costigan catches Sullivan off-guard and handcuffs him. As Costigan had secretly arranged, Officer Brown (Anderson) appears on the roof as well. Shocked, Brown draws his gun on Costigan, who attempts to justify his actions by exposing Sullivan as the rat. Costigan asks Brown why Dignam did not accompany him, but Brown does not answer. Costigan leads Sullivan to the elevator. When it reaches the ground floor, Costigan is shot in the head by Officer Barrigan (Dale), who then shoots Brown and reveals to Sullivan that Costello had more than one mole in the police. When Barrigan looks away, Sullivan shoots him in the head. At police headquarters, Sullivan identifies Barrigan as the mole and has Costigan posthumously given the Medal of Merit.

At Costigan's funeral, Sullivan and Madolyn stand at the grave. Sullivan attempts to talk to her, but she ignores him. When Sullivan returns to his apartment, he is ambushed by Dignam, who shoots and kills him as he is entering the apartment.

Cast

Production

In January 2003, Warner Bros., producer Brad Grey, and actor/producer Brad Pitt obtained the rights to remake the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, paying Media Asia $1.75 million.[5][6][7] William Monahan was secured as screenwriter, and later Martin Scorsese, who admired Monahan's Boston-set, Irish-Catholic gangster script, came on board as director.[8][9][7]

In March 2004 United Press International announced that Scorsese would be remaking Infernal Affairs and setting it in Boston, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were slated to star.[10] Pitt, tentatively scheduled to play Sullivan, later declined in favor of using a younger actor, and continued to produce the film instead.[9] Scorsese's associate Kenneth Lonergan suggested Matt Damon, who grew up in Boston, for the part of Sullivan, and Scorsese asked Jack Nicholson to play Costello.[4]

Nicholson, however, wanted the film to have "something a little more" than the usual gangster film, and screenwriter Monahan came up with the idea of basing the Costello character on the famous Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger from Boston. This gave the screenplay an element of realism – and also an element of dangerous uncertainty, because of the wide-ranging carte blanche the FBI gave Bulger in exchange for revealing information about fellow gangsters.[4]

The film got the official greenlight from Warners in early 2005, and began shooting in the spring of 2005.[7] The majority of the film was shot on location in Boston. For budgetary and logistical reasons certain scenes, interiors in particular, were shot in locations and sets in New York City.[11]

Themes

Film critic Stanley Kauffmann describes a major theme of The Departed as one of the oldest in drama—the concept of identity—and how it "affects one's actions, emotions, self-assurance and even dreams."[12]

The father-son relationship is a motif throughout the film. Costello acts as a father figure to both Sullivan and Costigan while Queenan acts as Costello's foil in the role of father-figure, presenting both sides of the Irish-American father archetype.[13] Sullivan refers to Costello as "Dad" whenever he calls to inform him of police activities.

In the final scene, a rat is seen on the window ledge. Scorsese acknowledges that while it is not meant to be taken literally, it somewhat symbolizes the "quest for the rat" in the film and the strong sense of distrust between characters, much like post-9/11 America. The window view behind the rat is a nod to gangster films like Scarface, Little Caesar, and White Heat.[14]

Reception

The Departed was highly anticipated and was released on October 6, 2006 to universal acclaim. [15] The film scored a 93% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes,[16] and an 86 (out of 100) rating on another aggregator Metacritic.[15]

Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "If they're lucky, directors make one classic film in their career. Martin Scorsese has one per decade (Taxi Driver in the '70s, Raging Bull in the '80s, Goodfellas in the '90s). His 2006 Irish Mafia masterpiece kept the streak alive."[17]

Online critic James Berardinelli awarded the film four stars out of four, praising it as "an American epic tragedy." He went on to compare the film favorably to the onslaught of banality offered by American studios in recent years. "The movies have been in the doldrums lately. The Departed is a much needed tonic," he wrote. He went on to claim that the film deserves to be ranked alongside Scorsese's past successes, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas.[18]

Andrew Lau, the co-director of Infernal Affairs, who was interviewed by Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, said, "Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too. [Scorsese] made the Hollywood version more attuned to American culture." Andy Lau,[19] one of the main actors in Infernal Affairs, when asked how the movie compares to the original, said, "The Departed was too long and it felt as if Hollywood had combined all three Infernal Affairs movies together."[20] Lau pointed out that the remake featured some of the "golden quotes" of the original but did have much more swearing. He ultimately rated The Departed 8/10 and said that the Hollywood remake is worth a view, though according to Lau's spokeswoman Alice Tam, he felt that the combination of the two female characters into one in The Departed was not as good as the original storyline.[21]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006.[22] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal, Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer named it one of the top ten films of 2006.[22] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times named it the best film of 2000s.

Box office

The film grossed $26,887,467 in its opening weekend, becoming the third Scorsese film to debut at number one. The film saw small declines in later weeks, remaining in the list of top ten films for seven weeks. Budgeted at $90 million, the film grossed $289,835,021[1] worldwide, of which $132,384,315[1] was from North America, becoming one of the most commercially successful of Scorsese's career.

Awards and nominations

At the 64th Golden Globe Awards on January 15, 2007, The Departed won one award for Best Director (Martin Scorsese), while being nominated for five other awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Wahlberg), and Best Screenplay (William Monahan). [23]

At the 79th Academy Awards on February 25, 2007, The Departed won four Academy Awards for Best Picture (Graham King), Best Director (Martin Scorsese), Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker), and Best Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan). Mark Wahlberg was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance, but he lost to Alan Arkin for his role in Little Miss Sunshine.

The film marked the first time Scorsese won an Oscar after six previous losses.[24] Many felt that he deserved it years earlier for prior efforts.[25] Some have even gone further, calling it a Lifetime Achievement Award for a lesser film.[26] Scorsese himself stated that he won because: "This is the first movie I've done with a plot."[27]

In 2008, The Departed was nominated for AFI's Top 10 Gangster Films list.[28]

Home media

The Departed was released by Warner Brothers on DVD in 2007. The film is available in a single-disc full screen (1:33:1), single-disc widescreen (2:40:1) edition, and 2-disc special edition. The second disc contains deleted scenes; a feature about the influence of New York’s Little Italy on Scorsese; a Turner Classic Movies profile; and a 21-minute documentary titled Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed[29] about the crimes that influenced Scorsese in creating the film, including the story of James "Whitey" Bulger, upon whom Jack Nicholson's character is based.[30]

The Region 1 version has three available audio tracks: English, Spanish, and French (all of which are in Dolby Digital 5.1), and three subtitle tracks (English, Spanish, French). The film was released on HD DVD and Blu-ray at the same time as the standard-definition DVD. The 2-Disc Special Edition was packaged in a Limited Edition Steelbook. It marked the first time that an Oscar-winning Best Picture was released to the home video market in DVD format only, as VHS was totally phased out by the start of 2006.

Music

There were two albums released for The Departed, one presenting the original score composed for the movie by Howard Shore, and the other featuring earlier recordings, mostly pop/rock songs, which were used on the soundtrack.

Soundtrack

The Departed: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released November 7, 2006
Genre Rock
Country
Pop
Label Warner Sunset
Producer Jason Cienkus

As with previous Scorsese films, Robbie Robertson had a hand in picking the music. The film opens with "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones ("Let it Loose" also appears later on), and prominently plays "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys with lyrics written by Woody Guthrie, which gained the band some popularity and their first and only platinum selling single. The film features the live version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" from the 1990 Berlin Wall Concert performed by Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and Rick Danko, Levon Helm, and Garth Hudson of The Band.

Although "Gimme Shelter" is featured twice in the film, the song does not appear on the album soundtrack. Also heard in the movie but not featured on the soundtrack is "Thief's Theme" by Nas, "Well Well Well" by John Lennon, "Bang Bang" by Joe Cuba, and the Act II Sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

The film closes with a cover of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams", by Roy Buchanan.

Track listing
No. TitleArtist(s) Length
1. "Comfortably Numb"  Roger Waters (Feat. Van Morrison & The Band) 7:59
2. "Sail On, Sailor"  The Beach Boys 3:18
3. "Let It Loose"  The Rolling Stones 5:18
4. "Sweet Dreams"  Roy Buchanan 3:32
5. "One Way Out"  The Allman Brothers Band 4:57
6. "Baby Blue"  Badfinger 3:36
7. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston"  Dropkick Murphys 2:34
8. "Nobody but Me"  The Human Beinz 2:18
9. "Tweedle Dee"  LaVern Baker 3:10
10. "Sweet Dreams (of You)"  Patsy Cline 2:34
11. "The Departed Tango"  Howard Shore, Marc Ribot 3:32
12. "Beacon Hill"  Howard Shore, Sharon Isbin 2:33

Score

The film score for The Departed was written by Howard Shore and performed by guitarists Sharon Isbin, G. E. Smith, Larry Saltzman and Marc Ribot. The score was recorded in Shore's own studio in New York State. The album, The Departed: Original Score, was released December 5, 2006 by New Line, and produced by Jason Cienkus.

Sequel

In a February 2007 interview with Empire, Mark Wahlberg stated that there might be a sequel focusing on his character, Dignam, with Robert De Niro potentially playing a corrupt senator. He also stated that William Monahan was writing the script.[31] The film is said to be on hold, because producer Brad Grey is now the head of Paramount Pictures and the film is a Warner Bros. project.[32]

In June 2010, Wahlberg and Monahan continued to express interest in a sequel, then said to be projected for 2012.[33] Nothing further has been announced.

Homages

Throughout the film, Scorsese used Xs mostly shown in the background to mark characters for death; examples include shots of Costigan walking through the airport while talking to Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), Queenan falling to his death (on the building glass windows as Queenan falls to ground), and Sullivan returning to his apartment at the end of the movie (on the hallway floors). This is an homage to Howard Hawks' classic 1932 film Scarface.[34]

See also

Notes

Further reading

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • Rotten Tomatoes
  • Metacritic
  • Box Office Mojo

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