DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Martin Scorsese
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson
Writing Credits:
William Monahan

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Box Office:
$90 million.
Opening Weekend:
$26,887,467 on 3017 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 151 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/23/2024
• “Stranger Than Fiction” Featurette
• “Crossing Criminal Cultures” Featurette
• “Guilt and Betrayal” Featurette
• 9 Additional Scenes
• Trailer
• Steelbook Case


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Departed (Steelbook) [4K UHD] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 21, 2024)

Sometimes folks win Oscars for their body of work and not the film at hand. Consider Paul Newman’s trophy for The Color of Money, an award that appeared to arrive mostly to thank the actor for his career.

Sure, Newman did fine in the movie. However, I doubt that he would’ve won for that superficial beer commercial of a film without the feeling he’d been deprived of Oscars in the past.

This same impression greeted 2006’s The Departed. Despite many well-regarded films, Martin Scorsese fell into “always a bridesmaid” territory until he finally got Best Director and Best Picture for Departed.

Did he deserve to win for that flick? Probably not, as Departed offers a professional, enjoyable film but not one that touches the greatness of Scorsese’s best efforts.

Departed mostly concentrates on the lives of two South Boston boys, and we meet Colin Sullivan as a preteen (Conor Donovan). The son of a deceased, well-respected local, Colin gets pulled under the wing of notorious Irish mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson).

Costello turns into a surrogate father to Colin, which means it seems odd that as an adult (Matt Damon), he becomes a state cop. He winds up under Captain Ellerby (Alec Baldwin) in the Special Investigations Unit, a group which – wait for it! – spends much of its time trying to bring down Costello.

In addition, we meet another newly issued Massachusetts officer, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). He comes from a family with many connections to crime as well as a silver spoon element, and he winds up in a secret unit under Capt. Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Staff Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).

They put Billy in a deep undercover role in which he goes to jail and then lands a job with Costello upon release. This allows him to infiltrate Frank’s operation and inform the authorities about Costello’s dealings. The movie follows the dual existences lived by Billy and Colin as they work on various sides of the law.

While Scorsese dealt with the criminal element many times in his work, Departed represented a shift for him given its location and characters. Whereas Scorsese traditionally focused on New York Italians, Departed took the director to the Boston Irish.

This lack of personal affinity for place and people shows up during the film, as Scorsese never really seems to connect to the subjects. He gets there well enough for them to allow the movie to work acceptably well, but there’s an intangible that remains absent.

The flick lacks the easy fluidity of the director’s other crime-related efforts. This means Scorsese struggles to make his subject matter three-dimensional.

Some have described Departed as feeling like a Scorsese-imitator created it. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment, though I can see why some greeted it that way.

Perhaps the problems stem from that lack of personal connection I mentioned, but Departed occasionally seems more like it boasts Scorsese’s stylistic tendencies without the usual heart or impact. I don’t want to imply that the film lacks any power or energy, but it just doesn’t manage the heat and passion of the director’s better work.

In terms of cast, Departed excels. As always, Scorsese recruits a high caliber of talent, and the actors live up to the material.

Actually, the support talent overshadows the leads, and Nicholson got a lot of attention for his flamboyant turn as Costello. Nicholson is good in the role, but I can’t say he does anything we’ve not seen in the past.

Indeed, I detected a lot of Batman’s Jack Napier here. Anyone who expects real fireworks from the first Nicholson/Scorsese collaboration won’t find remarkable results.

On the other hand, Scorsese manages to evoke terrific work from the usually drab Wahlberg. That flat, wooden Wahlberg never materializes in Departed.

Instead, Wahlberg injects his role with gusto and fervor and virtually leaps off the screen. This is a Wahlberg who finally demonstrates personality and he deserved his Oscar nomination.

Unfortunately, Baldwin didn’t get a similar nod, but that may because everyone expects this kind of work from him. Baldwin consistently steals the show in the roles he takes, and that goes for his turn here.

Baldwin made a smooth transition from leading man to character actor. Indeed, I think he did better with that shift since it put less pressure on him. Baldwin knocks one out of the part in his limited screen time.

I certainly can’t fault the movie’s complicated story, as it balances the various sides of things and gives us a consistently involving tale. At times the flick almost overwhelms us with various plot elements and twists, but it manages to stay more than acceptably clear and concise. The turns maintain our interest and add spark to the proceedings.

I just can’t help but think that a talent like Scorsese should have done more with The Departed. From start to finish, this delivers a professional, entertaining and involving flick. It simply doesn’t rise to the level of true excellence.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

The Departed appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This turned into a solid presentation.

Most of the flick showed nice delineation but occasional wider shots appeared a bit soft. Still, overall definition seemed positive.

I noticed no shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes remained absent. Grain felt natural, and I saw no print flaws.

Departed went with a fairly subdued palette that favored blues and ambers. These worked fine within visual choices, and HDR gave the hues added punch.

Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows demonstrated good clarity and definition. HDR gave whites and contrast extra zing. This was a good image.

Though the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Departed never excelled, it filled out the action reasonably well. Despite the many crime-related sequences, the soundfield remained pretty chatty and music-oriented.

These used the front channels well, and ambience also added to the proceedings. A smattering of louder sequences brought out nice involvement from the surrounds, but don’t expect them to dazzle. They worked as fairly minor participants most of the time.

Audio quality was positive. Speech always felt intelligible and natural.

Music depended on the source. Score elements were vivid and full, and most of the songs followed suit, though they had some ups and downs.

Effects seemed accurate and distinctive. While nothing about the audio stood out as particularly memorable, the mix succeeded for the film.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the original 2007 Blu-ray? Though the 4K offered DTS-HD MA 5.1 instead of the BD’s LPCM 5.1, both brought lossless formats that seemed very similar.

Visuals got a considerable improvement. The BD came out during the format’s early days, and while it looked better than many from that era, it still benefited from an update.

The 4K offered superior accuracy, colors and blacks, and it also lost the BD’s print flaws. This wound up as an obvious visual upgrade.

We get the same extras as the BD as well as a new one. Stranger Than Fiction runs 21 minutes, seven seconds and includes interviews with director Martin Scorsese, Massachusetts State Police Major (Rtd.) Tom Duffy, Boston Globe reporters Shelley Murphy, Emily Sweeney and Kevin Cullen, state representative/author Brian Wallace, screenwriter William Monahan, Whitey Bulger’s former top lieutenant Kevin Weeks, A Criminal and an Irishman author Patrick Nee, former pastor of St Augustine’s Church Msgr. Thomas McDonnell, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg.

“Fiction” looks at the tale of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and his parallels with The Departed’s Frank Costello. We get notes about the story’s adaptation and the South Boston setting, performances, and a few other filmmaking elements.

However, “Fiction” mostly concentrates on Bulger’s exploits. It provides a reasonably informative and concise look at the person behind the Costello character, all of which prove quite interesting for viewers of the film. I’d have preferred a documentary with a little greater length and depth, but this one offers some stimulating elements.

Crossing Criminal Cultures goes for 24 minutes, four seconds and features remarks from Scorsese, DiCaprio, Damon, Duffy, Nee, Cullen, John Jay College of Criminal Justice forensic psychologist Dr. Louis B. Schlesinger, actor Alec Baldwin, and Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers.

“Cultures” looks at Scorsese’s “Little Italy” upbringing and its impact on his viewpoint. We also hear a little about the gangster flicks that influenced him as a kid.

Scorsese discusses how references to those movies appeared in his later work, and we learn about the evolution of gangster flicks over the years. We find some coverage of violence in Scorsese’s films and various themes.

I really enjoyed many parts of “Cultures”, as it’s fascinating to see the shots from the old films and watch their echoes in Scorsese’s own efforts. Overall, “Cultures” proves to be quite interesting.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get nine Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of 19 minutes, 25 seconds; that running time includes non-optional introductions by Scorsese. This means extra character depth in some ways, and I like the flashback to young Billy and his dad. Still, the scenes don’t add much in general.

Scorsese’s intros feel useful. He sets up the segments and lets us know why he left them out of the flick.

A new piece, Guilt and Betrayal runs 15 minutes, five seconds. It provides info from Scorsese.

“Guilt” examines how Scorsese came to the project as well as story/characters, influences, the use of violence, cast and performances, and aspects of the shoot. Some of this repeats from the other programs, but Scorsese still offers an appealing overview.

The Blu-ray dropped an extra from the DVD and it remains MIA here: a nearly 90-minute documentary called “Scorsese on Scorsese”. It’s a good program so its absence disappoints.

This package comes in a special steelbook case with unique art. Otherwise it remains identical to the "standard" 4K release, though it costs a few dollars more.

While it forms an interesting picture, The Departed doesn’t match up with director Martin Scorsese’s best. It entertains and acts as a worthwhile experience, but it doesn’t leave a substantial impression like Scorsese’s more memorable material. The 4K UHD presents very good picture and audio along with a few supplements. This becomes a fine presentation of the film.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of THE DEPARTED

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main