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Movie Review: "The Departed"

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With a Cubs manager in place and player acquisitions likely still days or weeks away, I thought I'd post a movie review, since I haven't done one of these in some time.

"The Departed" is Martin Scorsese's latest effort, yet another film about the mob. This one, rather than being like "Gangs of New York", Irish gangs fighting each other, is about Irish mobsters facing off against the police department in Boston.

I was going to write up a glowing review of this film, but yesterday I got into a discussion about it with someone I work with, and he got me thinking... and frankly, now that I've thought about it some more, it's a bit disappointing.

Big all-star cast, though: Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg ... and here's the first problem. All of them way, way overdo the Boston accents. I swear, if I heard one more of them say, "I'm going to shoot him in the heaaaaaaaaaht", I'd puke. Even Damon, who is a Boston-area native, goes too far.

Nicholson plays the head of the local mob. He preens for the camera, and it gets to be way, way too much. The basic story revolves around intrigues concerning Damon and DiCaprio, one of whom is a mobster who has infiltrated the police department, the other a cop who was placed as a mole in the mob. It's confusing, and no, I won't tell you who's who, because you'll want to figure it out for yourself. And after you do, you'll be yelling at the screen, "Figure it out too, you idiots!"

There's also a love interest, played by Vera Farmiga. Naturally, she gets involved with BOTH Damon and DiCaprio -- first as a police shrink, then as a lover. She's living with Damon, they're supposedly getting married. But then she sleeps with DiCaprio, and soon enough, she announces to Damon that she's pregnant.

Well, it's pretty obvious that it's DiCaprio's baby. But this storyline simply vanishes.

Mark Wahlberg, who was so likeable as the hero in "Invincible", plays a character so thoroughly distasteful here that you find yourself rooting against him everywhere he shows up. He spends half the movie swearing at everyone he can, and you wonder how anyone like this could even keep a job -- then I wind up finding out that this, apparently, is something that's in the culture of Boston cops. But how would you know this if you're not from there?

Like many Scorsese movies, especially of this genre, this movie is quite violent and bloody. And there are no heroes left at the end. As I said, I left the theater liking it, but after talking it over... maybe not so much. Plus, it's about thirty minutes too long at two and a half hours.

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