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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Departed - In Depth (Text)

First Published Feb 13 2009

Originally, I hadn’t intended to do reviews of movies where my opinion of the film matched the opinion of the majority of people I know who have seen the film. I figured that people don’t really want to listen to someone just describe back to them all the things they liked about a film, and would find it more interesting if I either reviewed movies they had yet to see, or else my opinion of the movie was vastly different from theirs, in which case they could read my arguments for the flip-side of what they thought. That was my plan originally. However, here I am, only 4 reviews in, and I’m reviewing a movie that the critics loved, everyone I know loves, and yes, I also love. So, forgive me if you get bored at any point during this review – I’ll try my best to keep it interesting, and hopefully it’ll be up to scratch.
The reason why I decided to review this movie, rather than one matching my previously mentioned criteria, is that I got a request to review it from a reader. Thrilled that I even have regular readers, I decided that I would fulfil the request, and review one of the best gangster movies of this century: The Departed.
The Departed opens with actual footage of violent disturbances in Boston from the 70s, and this is accompanied by a powerful voice over from Irish Mobster Francis Costello (Jack Nicholson), in which he delivers possibly the best opening lines to a film since DeNiro’s opening voice over in Casino.

“I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.”

This one line lets us know exactly what kind of man Costello is. Powerful, determined, and not the kind of guy you want to fuck with. This view of him is confirmed in the very next scene, when he walks into a Diner, and is immediately handed money out of the cash register by the proprietor without having to say a word. It is at this point that we are introduced to Colin Sullivan, a young boy who is eating in the Diner at the time Costello walks in. Costello, having known Sullivan’s late father, has the owners of the Diner collect a bag of groceries for Colin to take home to his grandmother, and offers him a job working for him. When we next see Sullivan, he is sitting in one of Costello’s auto repair shops, listening to Costello as him informs him of his philosophy on organised crime. It is clear that Costello is getting through to Sullivan, and we know the second we flash forward to the present that the older Sullivan, who we see taking the State Police training course, is still loyal to Costello.
It is also during this opening segment that we are introduced to Costello’s right-hand man, Mr. French, in a fantastic scene showing a young Costello shooting an Italian mobster and his wife on the beach. When Costello remarks “huh. she fell funny...” French just looks at him and says “Francis, you really should see somebody”, whilst standing there with an axe, ready to chop up the bodies and dispose of them. This comedic element mixed with a violent scene is very reminiscent of Joe Pesci’s scene’s in Goodfellas, though obviously in the case of The Departed, none of the characters are quite so over-the-top crazy as he is. The scene is shot fantastically, most from a long angle, and sums up the characters of French and Costello perfectly (though, as already mentioned, we could tell what kind of man Costello was the first time he spoke).
In the present, we see Sullivan graduate his police training, and become a member of the Special Investigations Unit of the State Police. At the same time, we are introduced to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, William Costigan, who is also attempting to become a State Police trooper. After graduating the academy, we see Sullivan being interviewed by the captain of the police department and his staff sergeant, played by Mark Wahlberg. After Sullivan is given the job, we see DiCaprio go into the room after him, ready for his interview.
Moving away from the plot here quickly, I just have to say that Mark Wahlberg’s performance in this film is absolutely fantastic. His very first line comes after Captain Queenan (played by Martin Sheen) compliments Damon, saying “you rise fast”. Instantly, Wahlberg adds “like a twelve year old’s dick”, to which Sullivan is only able to reply “thank you staff sergeant”. This is a fantastic moment, and is just one of Wahlberg’s hilarious lines that comes up throughout the course of the film. The first time I watched the film, I wasn’t too sure about Wahlberg’s character, because in the interview with DiCaprio, when DiCaprio tells him he has an idea of what goes on in their department, Wahberg tells him to say he has no idea what goes on the Department because “if you knew what went on in this department, we would not be good at what we do. We would be Cunts. Are you calling us Cunts?”. At first, I thought this line was unnecessary, as the double use of the word ‘cunt’ in that sentence just seemed gratuitous, and I was worried Scorsese was just attempting to be more edgy by using more bad language (which, for the record, doesn’t work). However, after watching a few of Wahlberg’s scenes, I realised that this quote actually fit the character perfectly, and was not an attempt to put unnecessary swearing in the film, but rather an attempt to capture the character’s entire personality in that one introductory scene, something which (on the rewatch), I believe Scorsese achieved. Wahlberg has a number of brilliant lines throughout the course of the film, and probably delivers more hilarious pieces of dialogue than the rest of the cast combined. Out of these, I would have to say that the one which tops them all has to be when DiCaprio, fearful for his life, calls him in the latter part of the film, telling him he has to talk to Queenan, and Wahlberg just answers “why don’t we meet up, sweetie? I’ll buy you an Ice cream...”
I’m a big fan of Mark Wahlberg (which explains why I dragged my ex to see Max Payne for our second date when it came out. Which in turn explains why I’m now single. I’m so lonely...), and have thought he was great in pretty well every film I’ve seen him in, the main one I would like to mention being Four Brothers. This film is no exception, and he pulls off the character of Staff Sergeant Dignam perfectly. Having not seen “Little Miss Sunshine”, I can’t really comment on whether Wahlberg deserved the Oscar more than Alan Arkin, but I am glad he was nominated because it is truly one of the best performances I’ve seen from him. It’s probably his only role where they’ve tried to tone down his ‘physical tough-guy’ image and given him more of a ‘sarcastic tough-guy’ personality instead. He constantly wears long sleeves to cover the fact that he is actually a lot more muscular than DiCaprio or Damon, and has his hair styled with an extreme side-parting, to give him an almost geeky look (though VKisyourmaster, some random girl on youtube, thinks "His hair is oddly sexy in this movie... "). This suits the character perfectly, and makes his relatively small role in the movie extremely memorable, kind of in the same way that people only tend to remember Pesci’s bits from Goodfellas.
Anyway, back to the plot. Queenan and Dignam both convince Costigan to go undercover, and help them build a case against Frank Costello. Costigan agrees, and when we next see him, he is working out in his prison cell, having been sent to prison in order to help cover the fact that he’s an undercover cop by giving him a convincing story as to why he was kicked out of the police academy. It is at this point that we are given the title sequence, almost twenty minutes into the film, and it is also the first time we hear the theme song ‘Shipping Up to Boston’ by the Dropkick Murphy’s.
The song is just incredible. Powerful, incredibly energetic, and with a real ‘Irish’ quality to it (which, given the film is about Irish mobsters, is definitely a plus). I just want to know how “An Inconvenient Truth” could possibly have won the Oscar for ‘best song’, and The Departed not even be nominated for it. I mean, honestly, have you ever asked someone what the CD they’re playing in their car is, and have them answer “it’s the soundtrack to ‘An Inconvenient Truth’”? No? That’s because it didn’t have a fucking memorable soundtrack! It got the fucking Oscar because the Oscars is all political, and they wanted to award as many as they could to Al Gore’s film, but realised there weren’t many categories it could fit into so said “I know, we’ll just award it best song, no one pays attention to the smaller categories, and it’ll mean they can put ‘the Oscar winning movie’ on the cover”. So, once again I feel the need to say: Fuck the Academy coming straight from the underground / you motherfuckers ain’t got a clue what makes good sound! Seriously, if Dreamgirls or something had won instead, I wouldn’t have given a fuck. At least then I could have told myself “Well, it’s a musical, what do you expect?”. But a fucking documentary by Al Gore? Get the fuck outta here! Oh, and for the record, Mr. Gore – the ice sheets on the antartic (though admittedly, not Artic - but as you said in your film, the Antartic's the important one) are currently the biggest they’ve been since 1979, SO SUCK IT, DUMBASS! (Oh, and also, when you say “the Earth’s temperature is the hottest it’s been in 30 years”, that means it was fucking hotter 30 years ago you moron! Global Warming is a myth, just like Bigfoot, Jesus or the BNP. Trust me.)

EDIT: Sorry for being so retarded here, it has occurred to me since publishing this that Shipping Up to Boston was not written specially for the film, and therefore is not actually elligible for the Oscar nomination. Still, if it had been written for The Departed, it would certainly have deserved to win.

Anyway, yeah – Shipping up to Boston is an awesome track and really gets you pumped up and ready for the rest of the film. I used to listen to it before weightlifting back when I used to work out, and there a few songs that can get you quite as pumped up as this one. In my review of Get Rich or Die Tryin’ I stated that it had one of the best rap theme songs I’ve heard (since 8 mile), and in the same vein, I believe that The Departed has the best Irish Punk theme song ever. Though, having said that – I honestly can’t think of any other movies that use Irish Punk music in their soundtrack. In fact, I can’t even think of any Irish Punk bands other than Dropkick Murphy’s... U2 are punk, right? Or are they Hip-Hop? Whatever... What I’ve saying is: The song is AWESOME.
So, umm... back to the film. Yeah, basically, DiCaprio gets out of prison and starts hanging out with his cousin, Sean, who looks disturbingly similar to Hector from Lake Placid, but isn’t. Anyway, he’s out dealing with his cousin when they run into Mr. French in a bar (who I forgot to mention is played by Ray Winstone, though I’m sure you’ve seen the movie if you’re ready this so know that already. In fact, if you haven’t seen it: STOP READING THIS!!!! THE ENDING IS FUCKING AWESOME AND I’M GOING TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU IF YOU KEEP ON READING, SO STOP!!!!!! Anyway...) who doesn’t seem to think all that much of Sean. Whilst Sean is talking to French and this other dude, DiCaprio goes and buys a cranberry juice from the bar. He happens to be sitting next to some Irish wanker when he (hmm... that’s interesting, apparently Microsoft Word doesn’t think ‘wanker’ is a real word, and suggests I want to say ‘winker’, ‘walker’, ‘swanker’ or ‘wander’ instead. Further proof Americans do not know the best insults (it’s not that it doesn’t accept profanity – cunt and motherfucker don’t have red squiggly lines under them. Nor does the word ‘squiggly’, for that matter. Is squiggly even a word???). What? You thought I typed these straight into my notes on Facebook? Are you crazy? 5000 odd words without a spell checker or a ‘save’ function? Not a chance! Microsoft Word FTW!) orders the drink, who points out that cranberry juice is a natural diuretic (I think... whatever that means...), before asking Leo if he’s on his period (understandable if this were Titanic, but he actually looks kinda hard and manly in this film). Anyway, Leo decides he’s not gonna take that shit, and smashes a glass over the dude’s head. This shot is great, because the camera does not cut from the moment he orders the drink up until we see the glass shatter on the guys head, and we see all the build up in one long take. The breaking glass also looks incredibly realistic, and you get the feeling that DiCaprio may have picked up a real glass instead of the stunt one, and actually glassed the guy. Anyway, DiCaprio starts hitting the guy, and French steps in and throws him off. Leo goes to take his shirt off to show French his ‘guns’ or something, but French stops him, before giving his best piece of dialogue in the film, where he states “there are guys you can hit, and guys you can’t hit. Now that’s not quite a guy you can’t hit, but he’s damn sure near a guy you can’t hit. So I’m gonna make a fucking ruling here: you don’t hit him! Got it?”. This amazing segment of dialogue has infinite applications if altered slightly. For example, guys – you see some douchebag with your ex/sister, you can say: “there are girls you can fuck, and girls you can’t fuck. Now that’s not quite a girl you can’t fuck, but she’s damn sure near a girl you can’t fuck. So I’m gonna make a fucking ruling here: you don’t fuck her! Got it?”. As all guys are inherent fans of The Departed, he’ll love the reference, and leave her alone to watch gangster films with you. As for the ladies, I have no idea how you can alter and apply this line, because I have no idea what you like. Shoes, right? Women like shoes, don’t they? “that’s not quite a pair of shoes you shouldn’t wear...”. Am I on to anything here? Damn it! Why do you have to be so difficult to understand? Why couldn’t you just be men with boobs? Why???????

(N.B. Vaginas as well... you know, before anyone sends me a link of some dude with man boobs ( and without penis’s, before I get my inbox flooded with tranny porn... again ( In fact, ladies – I like you just the way you are. But, you know, you could at least tell us what you want. Am I right guys? ...Guys? Hmm, just me, then...)

Anyway, Winstone owns this scene, and after telling DiCaprio he can’t hit the guy, turns around and beats the shit out of him himself! What a man!
We then get some stuff with Matt Damon being assigned to the Costello task force, and see all manner of fine women checking him out. What I wouldn’t give to be Matt Damon, Geez! The dude’s a Babe magnet! Seriously, he’s like George Clooney and Brad Pitt combined but about 10 years younger. Was he always hot? I don’t remember girls going on about him when The Bourne Identity came out... Do I sound at all gay here? I’m gonna shut up now...
Anyway, Sullivan starts dating this psychiatrist, and she moves in with him. His new girlfriend, however, just happens to be Leo’s court appointed psychiatrist, and this leads to a kind of love triangle forming later in the story. I was kind of annoyed at this first time I saw the movie, to be honest, because after Leo breaks his hand (whoops! Haven’t done that bit yet! Sorry, I’ll do it next), we see a shot of the nurse (or possibly doctor) fixing it in a cast for him, and he looks at her for quite a long time with a kind of longing look on his face. I’ve always been sad that romance never blossomed... My God! I sound so gay today, I have no idea what it is! Maybe it’s cos it’s late and I’m tired? Guys, I’m sorry – I swear, I don’t actually swing that way – I’ll get back to the violent scenes before I say anything too embarrassing. Did I mention I’ve watched the entire series of Pride and Prejudice? and can name all the Bennett daughters???... FUCK!!! Too late...
Anyway, onto violence! Yes, violence! I’m a real man, and I like to see blood in my movies! Yeah! Get some! Proper Geezer, loike!
So, Leo breaks his hand by beating up some Italian dudes who are trying to extort money out of an arab shopkeeper, and the shop (diner?) this occurs in just happens to be the diner we saw at the start of the movie when Costello met Sullivan. Anyway, the Italians are trying to get money off the dude, and Leo beats them up, cos he knows Costello hates Guineas and will no doubt offer him a job as a reward (Guineas as in Italians, not currency or pigs). Leo beats the crap out of them, but breaks his wrist doing so, and goes to the hospital. We’ll skip the next couple of scenes cos I’m a real man and I don’t wanna talk about that soppy bullshit, roight? So then, we see Leo back in the bar where he met French, when Costello walks in and sit next to him. He reveals who he is, then asks DiCaprio to follow him into the back room.
When they get in the back, Costello tells DiCaprio that the Italians are gonna get some guys and some guns, and come back to Southie to kill him. He offers to protect DiCaprio, and offers him a job. DiCaprio accepts his offers, then Costello decides he should make sure he’s not a cop, so gets French to break the cast on his wrist looking for a wire, then starts hitting his hand with a shoe whilst shouting “Are you still a cop?!?” whilst Leo screams “I’m not a fucking cop”, then cries like a sissy. Yeah, I’m all man! Hardcore! Love it! Anyway, Costello and French leave and tell Leo they’ll be in touch. Sullivan finds the bodies of the two Italian Dudes the next day.
We then get into the main part of the film, with DiCaprio slowly getting involved deeper and deeper in gang activities, and Sullivan being promoted and being tasked with finding the rat in the police department (which he is). At some point, Costello finds out there is a rat in his crew, and so tasks Sullivan with finding him, whilst Leo is tasked by the police with finding Costello’s rat in the department (Sullivan). To put it simply – Sullivan has to find DiCaprio, and DiCaprio has to find Sullivan. Cat and mouse chase kinda thing.
Anyway, we get all manner of violent scenes showing Costigan becoming submerged in the lifestyle of the gangsters, and see Mr. French do some fantastic things like shoot a dude in the head whilst using a drinks bottle as a silencer, and strangle his wife with piano wire or something (because beating the shit out of his pregnant wife in Nil By Mouth clearly wasn’t far enough for Ray Winstone...). At the same time, we see the police keep on upping their efforts to catch Costello and find his rat. Including a great scene where the cops are watching Costello’s crew as they go to exchange some micro-processors with some Chinese government guys for a million dollars.
There are a number of things that make this scene great. First off, Alec Baldwin as the captain overseeing the operation. Just before the operation begins, he is nervous and speaking to Matt Damon, who is going to be running identification of Costello’s crew whilst they arrive. Nervous, Baldwin says to him “I’m going for a smoke, you don’t smoke, do you? What are you, one of those fitness freaks? Go fuck yourself!” without leaving any time between questions for Damon to answer. This line is hilarious, and apparently actually reflects the way people in Boston speak, according to some random people on imdb who I can’t be bothered to reference [citation needed].
On top of this, we get a fantastic shot when Damon is sending a text to Costello to warn him not to use his phone during the trade-off because the feds are listening in, and he does this whilst his phone is in his pocket! We see the phone inside the pocket, and him typing the message, and to be honest, it just makes me wish I could do that. It’s freaking awesome!
Add to this the crazy Chinese dude’s angry rant at Costello, and the awesome close-up on French’s revolver as he cocks it behind his back, and you’ve got a brilliant scene.
I do have just one complaint about this scene, however. When Collin is calling Costello to warn him the cops are going to be there (in code), he calls Costello “dad”. Captain Queenan hears him talking on the phone, but does not suspect anything. The thing is, the cops would know that Collin’s father was dead, and as Queenan was the captain, he was sure to know Collin’s personal info. I was kind of surprised when the scene didn’t pay out like this, to be honest:

Colin: (random code talk for ‘the cops are here’)

(Queenan walks over)

Colin: Ok, I’ll see you later. Ok, pa! Bye. (hangs up)

Queenan: Was that your father?

Colin: Yeah, that was my dad.

Queenan: The same dad that died in 1979, you mean?

Colin: Oh, fuck!

Dignam: I knew it! He’s the fucking rat! (various jokes about Sullivan’s sister)

But maybe I’m just reading into it too much. After all, I doubt the captains can remember everything about every cop under them, right?
Anyway, Costello and his boys get away again thanks to the cop who was setting up the AV surveillance screwing up, and it’s back to square one. Costello keeps on going, and Leo keeps on trying to stop him. We get more action scenes, and some love scenes between both Matt Damon and the psychiatrist, and DiCaprio and the same Psychiatrist, cos she is a bit of a prozzie, innit? Anyway, soon after Costello is getting really annoyed at having a rat in his crew, so asks Colin to deal with him. Colin asks for Costello to give him all his main guys’ names and details, and the result of this is Leo having to give his info up to be searched. Knowing he is the rat, Leo isn’t too keen to stick around, and tries to get away at this point. Unfortunately, Costello takes Leo’s leaving as a sign that he was the rat, and has French bring him to a restaurant to meet him for a heart-to-heart.
The confrontation we get at this point is absolutely amazing. Nicholson does a hilarious rat impression, pretending to be gnawing the air. His laughter at the start when he sees Leo also builds the tension, because it’s the exact same kind of laughter we’ve heard in Goodfellas and The Sopranos just before someone gets whacked. The kind of “I’m gonna whack you, you fucking rat and you don’t even know it yet!” laugh. But when the questions start to get tough, and Costello starts grilling him, Leo keeps his cool, and manages to convince Costello not to kill him. Costello leaves, and Leo is left alive, and no doubt amazed he managed to talk his way out of that one.
Soon after, Leo decides he wants out and asks Queenan to meet him. Sullivan, however, has put a tail on Queenan, and this leads Sullivan’s boys right to the building where Leo is hiding. Sullivan calls Costello, who sends his boys to kill the rat. On their way, one of the guys calls Leo and tells him to meet him at the building he’s in, because they’ve heard the rat’s there. Queenan tells Leo to get out of there, and he runs down the fire escape. Costello’s boys burst in and throw Queenan out the window, just as Costigan gets out the building. As Costello’s boys leave, they see Leo in the street and assume he just got there, responding to the call. Leo gets in the van with them, but before they can drive off, the cops Sullivan had tailing Queenan open fire on Costello’s boys, fatally wounding one.
Back at Costello’s bar, the wounded man reveals to Leo that he is a cop, and knows that Leo is as well, before dying from his gunshot wound. Leo leaves the bar, realizing that he got two cops killed that day, but knowing that this means no one will suspect him of being the rat any longer. Meanwhile, at the police station, Dignam’s pissed off that Sullivan had Queenan tailed, and claims this led to his death. The two of them punch it out, but are pulled apart before it gets really nasty. The captain (Baldwin) sends Dignam on a 2 week leave of absence, and Sullivan takes over Queenan’s operation.
At this point, Leo calls Sullivan, who reveals he has taken over the operation. Leo seems wary of him, but at the same time seems to think he can trust him. Leo gets ready to go on the final big operation with Costello, and plans to call in the location so the cops can go bust him. At the same time Sullivan, who was planning on using his new position to discover who the rat was for Costello, finds out through reading Queenan’s files that Costello was an FBI informant, and was giving his own people up to avoid prosecution himself. Sullivan decides he doesn’t want to hang around until he is sold out to the FBI, and decides to go with the plan as Leo wants. He takes a unit of cops down to the shipyard where the deal is going down, and at this point we get the biggest shootout of the movie as Costello and his boys try to escape, and the cops try to stop him.
There are some great shots in this scene, with all of the deaths being incredibly dramatic. Scorsese freezes the action at a number of points for only half a second at a time when guns are fired and when people are hit, and this is a really cool effect. Ray Winstone also crashes his car, and shoots himself in the head before it blows up. Seriously, this scene is awesome – one of those great shootouts you know you’ll remember. Not quite True Romance, but still right up there. Anyway, at the end of the scene, Matt Damon confronts Costello in the back of the building and asks him if it’s true he’s an FBI informant. Costello admits he is, and Damon shoots him a whole load of times. He then tells the rest of the cops that he’s got Costello.
At this point, the film feels like it’s kind of wrapping up. Costello’s dead, Costigan has revealed himself as the informer and is back at police HQ, and Sullivan is a hero. It feels like the movie is going to end here, but it doesn’t. Costigan discovers that Sullivan is the rat when he sees the envelope which had contained all of Costello’s gang’s contact details lying on his desk, and quickly leaves the police station rather than confront him. I thought this was kind of odd when I first watched this, because I felt it would have made more sense if Costigan had just run into the corridor and screamed “Sullivan’s the rat! Arrest that mother fucker!”. However, I now realize that without any evidence, it was Costigan’s word against Sullivan’s, and who would the cops believe? A well liked and respected sergeant, or some nobody trooper who’s just spent well over a year living with a bunch of criminal psychopaths? No, seriously – I’m asking: who would they believe in that situation? I have no idea...
Anyway, at this point, Sullivan realizes what’s going on and deletes Costigan’s file, so there is no evidence he was ever a cop. Thinking he’s solved his problem, Sullivan goes home, and tries to carry on living his new, normal life. His girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant, and he is overjoyed. She neglects to tell him there is a real possibility it could be Costigan’s child, however, as we all know Matt Damon has trouble getting it up (in the movie, that is, dunno about in real life...). Which reminds me, actually - just before we get the love scee before DCaprio' character and Matt Damon's girlfriend, he is standing in her house and says "you don't have any cats... I like that", and all of a sudden she's all over him! Since when has a dislike of cats been sexy? Girls, would you think that was an impressive pick up line if some guy said it to you? If so, that definately expains where i've been going wrong all these years... I love cats!
So anyway, back to the story... Sullivan goes on living his life, all happy and well. Unfortunately for him, however, Costigan has been sent tapes by Costello’s lawyer of a number of recordings of conversations between Costello and Sullivan, which prove he was the rat. Sullivan agrees to meet Costigan in order to get the tapes back, but when he arrives, Costigan beats him up and arrests him. And I’m sorry, but I can’t say what the ending is! I just can’t – just in case there’s someone reading this who hasn’t seen it. But let me just say – it is one of the most shocking endings I have ever seen, and I couldn’t believe it when it happened. I literally jumped right out of my seat like “what the fuck!?!?!” at the end of the elevator scene – having assumed that Costigan’s plan had been to get Sullivan to confess to being the rat and record the confession on a secret wire. But no! The actual ending was so much better than I expected, and remains to this day one of my favourite endings!
Just before I sum up, I wanted to comment on the frequent use of X’s in the film. You see, there are very often X’s dotted around in scenes, either girders crossing, light shining on the wall, or tape across windows. Apparently, this is a reference to the original “Scarface” from the 30s, which showed an X on screen whenever someone dies. I think it’s a pretty cool touch, and love how the X’s only appear near characters who die in the movie (which is most of them, to be fair). Although, I would like to add: Why bother? Yeah, it’s cool when you know what it’s about, but come on, it didn’t really add to the movie and it must have been SO much effort to do! I would have left it out myself... But still, it’s cool.
So, that’s the film. Now for just a couple of criticisms: firstly, the rat at the end. Too obviously CGI, and unnecessary. Yeah, I get the movie was all about rats, but you didn’t need to actually show one! As for the CGI thing, that annoyed me, cos it means the very last thing you see looks fake. However, I have since discovered (courtesy of imdb) that the background we see out the window was added by green screen anyway, so even without the rat we would have ended on an effects shot. Still, the background looks like it’s really there. The rat doesn’t.
Second, I haven’t seen infernal affairs, but I’ve heard that it’s completely identical to it in terms of the plot, so I guess in terms of the film industry, the ending isn’t actually quite as dramatic as I thought, simply because it’s been done before.
And lastly, and this is just a small point, I felt the scenes with Costello and the black hooker didn’t really fit in too well, because I got the impression that Costello wasn’t comfortable with anyone but the Irish, insulting the blacks and the Italians at the start of the film, and at various other points. I felt that if they had just used an Irish girl instead it would have fitted in better with the character. As I said, just a minor detail but it mattered to me.
Also, anyone know if Costigan had that tattoo on his chest the whole time, or just got it put on when he went to prison? I was wondering about it when I saw it, like “isn’t he meant to be upper-middle class? Isn’t that what ‘lace-curtained’ means? Why does he have that tattoo? Did he just get that in prison, or did he have it all along?”. Also, are the hats a way of showing gang affiliation like they are in LA? Just wondering, cos Leo sure does love his baseball cap. That’s more of a black thing though, I guess. Not Irish... Although having said that, they use football shirts in Dublin to signify gang membership. Celtic for Catholics and Rangers for Protestants, I think...
So, that’s my review of the movie. To sum up: Killer plot, great acting, superb direction and Marky Mark. What more could you want?




Absolutely awesome movie – just a couple of minor flaws here and there but otherwise near perfect. Still not quite Goodfellas, though. The back of the box gives us a quote from the Daily Mirror claiming it’s “Scorsese’s best film since Goodfellas”, and I’ve got to agree – although it’s a close tie with Casino, which is also fucking awesome. Wahlberg sways it, though. Legend.

P.S. I realize that I have neglected to include even a single relevant YouTube video in this review, so please accept this with my apologies: (umm... fellas, you probably don’t want to watch it – more for the ladies... you can watch this one instead: (Ladies, you probably don't wanna watch this one...))

EDIT: I know what a diuretic is now, so please don't leave comments explaining this, and especially don't leave any videos! Thanks.

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