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Departed, The


Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga

Director: Martin Scorsese

Tarantino revamped Hong Kong's City on Fire as Reservoir Dogs, with less than wonderful results. Scorsese, armed with William Monaghan's salty, sharply-characterised screenplay, scores a solid success relocating Infernal Affairs to Boston, where rookie cop DiCaprio goes undercover to infiltrate Irish mob boss Nicholson's crime empire.

It's violent and foul-mouthed, but excess is justified: Scorsese sustains strong suspense, stages slick action and pulls few dramatic punches bringing Monaghan's enjoyably complex narrative, with its multiple climaxes, vividly to life, and (ignoring a miscast Ray Winstone who, apart from other deficiencies, can't do an American accent) elicits prime performances from his classy cast.

Nicholson brings his amoral, cynically and gleefully sadistic character sharply to life, sharing his patent enjoyment with the audience; he's more diabolical than when he played Old Nick in The Witches of Eastwick. Look out for his Oscar. DiCaprio, Damon (playing well against his all-American image) and Wahlberg all hit their marks to perfection.

Scorsese himself deserves a long-overdue Academy Award. Back in his gangster milieu, he's made a cinematic offer you can't - and shouldn't - refuse.

Alan Frank

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Technicolor.
151 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 06 Oct 2006