How could it fail with a cast like this?

I’ll tell you how: too much swearing, too many dodgy scenes and far too big a twist at the end. And did I mention the swearing?

The Departed follows undecover police officer Billy Costigan (played expertly by Leonardo Dicaprio) as he infiltrates the biggest crime syndicate in Boston, led by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) in an attempt to bring it down. While all this is happening, it comes to light that Costello has his own inside man in the police force, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), who is tasked with tracking down the mole in Costello’s gang of crooks.

Scorcese has indeed outdone himself with this elaborate cat-and-mouse tale. The Departed is intriguing enough that you will be talking about it long after it is finished yet simple and self-contained enough that you won’t be seeing a sequel any time soon. However, in my opinion, all of this was overshadowed by 3 rather major flaws:

1) There was far too much swearing. For example, Mark Wahlberg stars as officer Dignam, a disrespectful cop who enjoys belittling other cops in the most effective way possible. Several rather long scenes of Dignam swearing his head off and calling Costigan and Sullivan every name under the sun are far more than were necessary. For me (and you can call me soft) there is simply no need for the kind of foul language that The Departed employed as a shock tactic.

NB: I am aware that this language may have made the film ‘more realistic’ or whatever, but I don’t think ‘realism’ and ‘totally unnecessary and over the top’ are exactly the same thing. In fact, the amount of swearing was just one aspect of the language …

2) There was far too much “dodginess”. I don’t even know what to call the kind of scenes like when Costello and Sullivan meet in an adult movie theatre and proceed to have a discussion while a porno film plays in the background. Or like at the start, where Costello asks an obviously young girl if she has her period yet. If you want to show he’s a bad person, just have him shoot some people or something – we’ll get the idea, really. These scenes, for me, were just tasteless and completely unnecessary.

3) There was a far-too-elaborate twist ending. Those of you who have seen The Departed will understand what I mean when I say: OVERKILL! I mean, didn’t it just go on and on? It seemed like the ending carried on for near 30 minutes! It was even longer, more boring and more drawn out than the ending to The Island, and I gotta tell ya: thats really saying something.

Despite all this, The Departed is an expertly crafted film. There was a real sense that the sets and environments were exactly like what Boston would be like, and the story is incredibly good. Not only that, but Scorcese really does know what he’s doing (for the most part anyway), and he got a major assist with Leonardo Dicaprio emerging as one of the better actors alive, as well as the sheer amount of talent used in the film (Nicholson and Ray Winstone are also brilliant).

I guess my advice to you would be to see it for yourself: there is a lot of objectionable behaviour and language in the film, but what I find excessive might be fine for you. But one thing is for sure: The Departed is definitely not a kids film.