Marty having fun
While this isn't Scorcese's greatest movie, it may be the one he had the most fun making.
As usual, DiCaprio delivers a strong performance that helps keep the movie grounded. Although Nicholson is lazy throughout (you can play a game of will he or won't he be attempting a Boston accent in each scene), his Frank Costigan is fun to watch.
Adding to the enjoyment of the movie is how the story links to the infamous Whitey Bulger, former real-life head of the Boston Irish mafia, FBI informant, and current fugitive. And for those so inclined - the high level of what my wife calls "manjoyment" throughout is just another added bonus (aside from Leo and Jack, the movie features another of her favorites, Mark Wahlberg, along with Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen).
The result is a pure movie fun but remember, this is Scorcese, so if you're not able to overcome violent imagery, this one's not for you. I think it might be his most graphically violent movie ever - it might be his way of showing that he can craft a movie that appeals to today's desensitized tastes and tell a good story at the same time.
From the streets of NY, to Victorian England, to the Southie neighborhoods of Boston, Martin is a master in capturing the essence of a group and a place. "The Departed" is no different in that regard and simply shows why he's one of the best directors of all time.