The Departed is about the Boston crime family of Frank Costello played by Jack Nicholson. Costello is sending in a young man to the Massachusetts State Police to become his inside guy and informant on what the State Police are up to. The young man’s name is Colin Sullivan and he is played by Matt Damon. At the same time the Massachusetts State Police are send a young man of their own Billy Costigan, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, to infiltrate Costello’s mob crime family. Along the way both young men make contacts and friends that become vital to their survival but at some point along the way both the Costello family and the Massachusetts State Police discover that they have a mole working among them. At that point it becomes a race against time for both young men as they try to save their own lives by not getting found out and they are also trying to save the lives of the people they have become close with so that the people around them do not start dying.
Jack Nicholson was given the freedom to improvise as much of his role as Frank Costello as he wanted to and that is just one of the genius moves made by director Martin Scorsese. When you have made as many movies as Scorsese you start to better understand the way the actor approaches the story and his use of his actors and the way the story moves along in The Departed is just brilliant. The Departed is worth seeing and it deserved all of the recognition it received. It is just mind boggling that when you look at the list of movies in Scorsese’s career that The Departed is the one that hit it the biggest at the box office and that is even after you adjust all of the other movies in Scorsese’s career for inflation. My how times have changed.