In the grand scheme of Martin Scorsese’s career, “The Departed” occupies a strange place in the director’s filmography. It’s the one he won for, definitely not his best — and if you ask some people — far from his best. The director’s remake of the Hong Kong crime thriller “Infernal Affairs,” despite winning Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, and Director at the 2007 Academy Awards, has failed, in many ways, to earn respect on its own merits.
One of the more ironic achievements of “The Departed” actually occurred in the year’s following its release. The success of the Boston-set crime drama kicked off a wave of similar movies set in Massachusetts, many of which also starred Mark Wahlberg. “The Departed” essentially created the Boston crime drama, the genre that would employ Afflecks and Wahlbergs for years to come, but the Scorsese film is the best of the bunch.
That’s because “The Departed” is about something, as opposed to being about a bunch violent dudes from Southie pulling a heist. From the very start of his filmmaking career, Scorsese has made movies steeped in Catholic ideologies, specifically how men deal with their past sins and the guilt that comes with them.
Taking a step back from the thematic elements and simply examining the surface, “The Departed” is a breed of crime thriller that we do not see often. It’s big, accessible, and brilliantly made. The levels of suspense reach heights more or less unparalleled in the genre.
Over the course of nine days, MTV Movies Blog will be traveling through cinematic time and the nine decades of movies featured in the “Best of Warner Bros 50 Film Collection.” Each day, we’ll review one film from one decade of the box set and taking a look back at the history of the studio.