best films: #38: THE DEPARTED (2006)
Say what you will about its validity as the Best Picture winner in 2006, but it’s hard to deny that at its core The Departed is a captivating thriller. From its expertly filmed and directed twists and turns to its killer lead performance from Leonardo DiCaprio (could this be his best and most underrated performance?), Martin Scorsese‘s modern masterpiece is more than a throwaway cop drama – which we seem to be barraged with excessive amounts of lately. It has a mesmerizing cat-and-mouse mystery at its core. And who but Scorsese could draw such a great performance out of the typically flat Mark Wahlberg? Top that off with a demented (as usual) role from Jack Nicholson and an astutely subtle one from Martin Sheen, and you’ve got an expertly assembled cast. Oh, and did I mention Vera Farmiga is in it as the torn-between-lovers post-traumatic stress therapist? Yeah, and she’s typically wonderful. But what seems to be the real person to watch in this film is Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s go-to film editor, whose Oscar-winning work on this film had the intense and steady touch that only she seems to offer in this genre.