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The Departed

One of the genres Martin Scorsese does best is crime, and The Departed is a fantastic example of Scorsese at his best in this genre. There's plenty to love in the film, and Scorsese's masterful directing only serves to remind his audience why he's considered such a great director to begin with.

The film follows two separate, but nearly equally violent, groups in Boston, Massachusetts. On one side, we have the Irish mafia who holds a tight grip on the nearby locale and plans to keep it that way. On the other side, we have Massachusetts' police force, which is bent on overthrowing the mafia's control on the area - as well as their leader, Frank Costello. This is where our two protagonists, Billy Costigan and Colin Sullivan, come in. Sullivan, a respected member of the Special Investigations Unit, in actuality is a spy for mafia boss Frank Costello, giving the boss as much information as he can about the police forces' doings. Costigan, however, is the police forces' secret informant on Costello, who reports on the all of the dealings of the mafia. Sparks soon fly once both groups discover the presence, but not the identity, of a 'mole' in their midst.

Whether you like the plot's setup or not - I personally did - you'll find that it's the film's characters that steal the show here. Each with their own motivations, fascinating personalities, and quality flaws, these characters are so completely interesting and involving that they'll engross the viewer in this tension-filled narrative of police drama. There aren't any weak characters either, and one may find themselves identifying with and liking many of the film's intricate characters, including the shady crime boss Costello.

As if these great characters weren't enough, the film's visuals look fantastic too. It has a slick and bright colored sheen, implying a sense of modernism, while also having this dark and gritty feel to it. There are some great, and surprising, shots which really show off Scorsese's incredible imagination with camerawork. From the lingering shots of Boston to the claustrophobic chase scenes in Chinatown, the film's just as visually-pleasing as it is a great narrative.

The pacing, admittedly, was a bit messy during the beginning of the film. However, after around the 25-minute mark, the film is able to create and maintain this great and thrilling pace that's as close to perfection as one can get in film. Though the term "on the edge of my seat" is cliche, I can't help but feel the term exactly describes how I felt as the film progressed from one enthralling moment to the next.

I could go on and on about this film. From its fascinating characters, to its fantastic visuals, to its thrilling pace, to its entertaining soundtrack, and so much more. The Departed has a few minor problems, but the overall product delivers so well that it's easy to forget such issues.





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