Don Lope de Aguirre wrote:
Don't expect too much! It's a slick film with solid all round performances but it does not compare with his finest work. I have heard some overexcited reviewers saying this is his best film since 'Goodfellas' but when they calm down they will realise that both 'The Age of Innocence' and 'Casino' (both sadly underrated) are very much superior to 'The Departed'.
Don't get me wrong, I liked the film, I found it entertaining but I couldn't get rid of the voice in the back of my head that kept on saying: 'Shouldn't a 60+ year old directing guru be making cinema a lot less adolescent than this?'
I agree, I really like The Departed but this is no where near the level of Casino or The Age of Innocence. It is, however, a much better film than the overrated Infernal Affairs. Scorsese and screenwriter William Monohan brought to The Departed the depth that was sorely missing in Infernal Affairs (although I heard Infernal Affairs II fleshes out it's characters more to rectify that). I also didn't find it as visually dazzingly as most Scorsese films are, perhaps because I prefer Robert Richardson to Michael Ballhaus, but in other Scorsese-Ballhaus collaborations such as Goodfellas the cinematography shines. Not that the cinematography is bad in The Departed, it just didn't seem as visually inventive as in previous Scorsese works like the aforementioned Casino.
I'm also not sure if I like the playfullness of The Departed that is thankfully absent in other Scorsese gangster epics like Goodfellas and Casino. But, from what I remember, Infernal Affairs also didn't take itself too seriously, so perhaps I should've expected that especially with Jack in the cast.
Did anyone else think that the use of Gimme Shelter in the beginning really felt like Scorsese-lite? It made me wish I was watching the stellar openings to Casino and Goodfellas. Scorsese's choice of music in those two earlier films worked perfectly, in The Departed it felt out of place, as if Scorsese was stealing from himself. What was with that awful Irish folk music mixed with heavy metal in a couple of sequences? What a terrible song to use. Yeah, yeah, I know the film's about Irish gangsters, but there's got to be better songs about "Irishness" than that piece of crap.
I'm being a bit too hard on Scorsese, but that's because I demand so much from him because of all the great films he's made. I do like this film, more so than some of his recent work, but it's just not the masterpiece that some critics are making it out to be.