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The Departed

Scorsese delivered one of his best films in 2006 with the wide ranging, complicated Boston mob flick THE DEPARTED.

Weaving an overlapping, tricky web, he introduces us to plenty of incredible good guys & bad guys that don't easily fit into either mold.

Leonardo DiCaprio is Billy, a young police recruit whose recruited to go deep undercover into the biggest crime family in Boston run by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson).

Costello is brutal, ruling the neighborhoods with an iron fist. He's also mentored a young man from the neighborhood, Colin (Matt Damon) who rises quickly into the detective force and serves as his mole inside the department.

As the undercover guys on both side circle each other closer and closer, Scorsese and writer William Monahan (Kingdom of Heaven) spin a long and detailed tale loaded with interesting characters.

Mark Wahlberg is a foul mouthed brutal detective in charge of the undercover force. Alec Baldwin is the senior detective leading the charge against Costello.

Martin Sheen is terrific as the chief whose one of the few who knows Billy is undercover, he's matched on the dark side by Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Beowulf) as Mr. French, Costello's right hand man.

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) is a police psychiatrist who finds herself counseling both Colin and Billy.

Nicholson is fantastic, crude, funny and brutal as the mob boss, wielding his power in bloody fashion while shouting or whispering plenty of great dialogue. (It's also notable for the fact that the f-word is dropped over 230 times in 151 minutes, which must be some sort of dubious record.)

DiCaprio is terrific, more on edge than you've ever seen him, waiting for his world to explode. Damon is dark and dangerous, showing an unhinged weakness, with terror lurking just below his good guy veneer.

No one is safe, no one is pure, but everyone is a hell of a lot of fun to watch in Scorsese's highly stylized crime thriller. The camera never stops moving for long, pulling you into the violence and tension.

Great music choices from The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Patsy Cline, The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd are almost constant behind the action.

Seeing this again more than a decade after its release, the twists and turns still shocked me along the way.

Winner of Best Picture of the Year and Best Director for Scorsese, THE DEPARTED holds up as a terrific thriller and gets an A.

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