The Departed (Martin Scorsese, USA, 2006)
The Departed is by no means classic Scorsese but in regards to the other films he had released this decade, it was a welcome return to what you think a Scorsese film should be. The film works because it has all the hallmark elements of Scorsese's best work, the fast paced, kinetic camera and action, using rock songs in just the right moments, and another fantastic editing job by Thelma Schoomaker. Based on the Asian film Infernal Affairs, the plot focuses on a series of "rats", a criminal infiltrating the Boston Police Department (Matt Damon) and a cop infiltrating his former neighborhood crime racket (Leonardo DiCaprio). Damon and DiCaprio's characters are pretty much mirror images, as they behave and even go for the same woman (Vera Farmiga) as the web of subplots and double crosses unravels around them. It a smart, propulsive screenplay with an ear for Boston, not just in accents but in the behavior of the police and the criminals that occupy the film. Yes, it all makes an entertaining film and there was not many other directors that could have handled the material any better than Scorsese does. The film does get docked some minor points for the ham-handed symbolism at the end and Jack Nicholson seems to lag well behind everyone else in the film in terms of performance. Still, The Departed does enough right to deserve its place on this list.