I'll be completely honest - I thought this movie was gonna be pretty crappy and at certain points I thought it was going to crap out. The last couple of Scorcese movies just haven't done a single thing for me at all. In fact quite the opposite I thought they sucked or have held no draw for me. DiCaprio & Nicholson aren't actors I go out of my way to see. Most of time that turns me off of the movie. What can I say? I'm not a fan.
The Departed worked for me. I left the movie happy which is on the twisted side considering that it's a pretty grim movie. Whatever plot holes or problems there were didn't bother me at all - I'm not going to nitpick. The acting was solid across the board - though Nicholson grated on me at times. DiCaprio pulled off a good performance. Matt Damon is a great scumbag. Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, and good old Ray Winstone were the real prizes for me. Personally I would have prefered to have seen them on screen more often.
For a remake of an HK movie I thought that The Departed was pretty damn cool. The script was pulled from Infernal Affairs (2002), a Hong Kong cop drama with Andy Lau and Tony Leung - both fine HK actors. I can't recall seeing this movie in all honesty though I know I've pulled the box off the shelf at Vulcan and gone, "Huh, HK cop drama." Oh yeah, checking imdb.com I realized that I haven't seen Infernal Affairs because it sounded like any number of HK cop/action/dramas from the early/mid 90s only without Chow Yun Fat in it. Many thanks to Mike for opening my eyes to those.
Hands down it was the dialogue that really shone. Sure it was tough guy dialogue but hey these were tough guys in a tough guy movie. The soundtrack was typical Scorcese - no real surprises or tracks that stick in my mind. The editing was good though I have to admit that I think there might have been something wrong with the print at the theater. Some of scene changes seemed really abrupt and early on the dialogue just cut out - unfortunately it a chunk of the scene where Wahlberg is tearing DiCaprio a new one.
Pros: Dialogue. Wahlberg, Baldwin, & Winstone. Nice seeing a movie when nothing good happens in the end. Matt Damon getting beat to shit.
Cons: Editing. Forgettable soundtrack. Jack Nicholson making shit up - no seriously. There are three scenes which Nicholson just acts all weird. I can just imagine him saying, "Look I wanna do this see. It'll be fucking genius. Add all these layers and shake up the squares." There are people out there who like watching Nicholson blow himself on screen but I'm not one of them.
All in all it's not Scorcese's best movie or my favorite movie of his. Hell I don't think that it's really Oscar material either. It is what it is though: a solid, mean, nasty, vulgar, brutal, depressing, and thoroughly enjoyable cops and robbers movie.