Movie Review

Heath Gordon

The only reason that Jack Nicholson took his role as Irish mafia boss Frank Costello in “The Departed” was that Nicholson considered the character to be the incarnation of evil.
Also, Leonardo DiCaprio was supposed to be filming “The Good Shepherd,” but instead broke his contract so that he could play the role of Billy Costigan.
What’s more, Matt Damon spent several months working with the Massachusetts State Police Department in Boston, during which time he participated in drug raids and was taught proper police procedure.
All of this adds up to a very smart, tight and intense movie.
Be forewarned, there is blood in this movie. However, every act of violence is completely necessary and the better part of the movie is spent unraveling the tangled web between the Massachusetts State Police and the minions of Irish Mafia Boss Frank Costello.
As a standalone gangster movie, “The Departed” would do just fine. What makes it a great movie is that it comments on issues of race, religion, and in some aspects, the war on terror.
The comments on race and religion are fairly obvious. We have a priest who likes young boys, and at one point we have a nun that had an affair with Costello. The war on terror will take a little more explaining. To do this, we will have to go back to “The Godfather.”
“The Godfather” is widely recognized as being a metaphor for American capitalism. This was in the back of my head when I walked into the theater. However, this idea got lost in a sea of cigarette smoke and gunshots in the beginning of the film.
At this point I should give you a brief rundown of the situation that is created in this movie. There are two sides: the good guys and the bad guys.
On the bad side, there is an evil man who no one on the good guy’s side can seem to catch. Both sides resort to dirty tricks and double agents to accomplish their goals.
At some points we are well aware of who is good and bad, and then someone who we thought was on one side comes out of the woodwork on the other. There is a neutral party who thinks she knows everything but ends up getting screwed by both sides.
I won’t go so far as to say that this whole movie is a metaphor for out war on terror, but let’s take a look at a few oddities.
First of all, it seems that the only embellishments that anyone adds to their wardrobe are either a cross or any other religious paraphernalia or a badge.
That is, until the chief of police-the leader of the good guys-is wearing an American flag pin and later says that he “loves the Patriot Act,” even though he is still unsuccessful in nabbing the bad guy.
As well, in a pivotal scene where Costigan beats the crap out of a mafioso, earning the trust of the bad guys, there appears a “United We Stand” bumper sticker on the wall behind him.
In addition to this, Costigan has two phones, a blue one, which he uses to talk to the good guys, and a red one, which he uses to talk to the bad guys.
I suppose I could be reading too much into this, but at the end, a rat walks under a golden dome. If that doesn’t scream, “Please read into the images in this movie,” I don’t know what does.
Watch this movie twice. That’s really all that I have to say. It’s a little bloodier than we all would hope, but then again, so is the war on terror.