The Departed (2006) (mini-review++)

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 12.07.55 AM.png

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

The mini-review:

The Departed

acting 7

directing 7

writing 7

effects 7

editing 7

SW score: 35

3.5 out of 5 octopi

++  Marty, I love you. Not that you need the validation of a nobody. But there’s not much I love about The Departed. Sure, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon do their usual professional thing. DiCaprio would not have been my choice for a gritty working-class role. We already know Matt Damon can nail that persona. DiCaprio should have played the polished cop mole and Damon should have played the Southie kid. He’s got experience, right? And Nicholson’s turn was flat. He was just mean and scary. There was nothing about him to admire. There was no nuance. The best villains can almost convince you that their twisted worldview has serious merit. Nicholson wasn’t trying to convince anyone of anything except that he was evil and that’ does not a complex character make. But what also matters is what you can remember now. Can you, other than the shocking but deeply awkward surprise ending (that felt like a desperate grasp for a way to end the film in a fresh way but just absolutely felt forced and atonal and cheap), give me any amazing lines that you and your buddies are going to be quoting? Can you remember moments like you can remember Ray Liotta standing at his front door in his emasculated robe? Can you name a single character in this movie with the sheer terrifying energy Joe Pesci brought to the screen? The answer to all those questions is ‘No’ because there aren’t any. As usual, Scorcese received his Best Director award decades too late. This is nothing unusual. The academy rarely gets it right in the right year. It was more of a lifetime achievement Oscar for directing. Not that he doesn’t deserve one. Marty deserves the benefit of the doubt. I saw it. I gave it. But that wasn’t enough. But it might be for you.




(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

Leave a Reply