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Departed - Elizabeth Pirinis The Departed When I was...

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Elizabeth Pirinis The Departed “When I was growing up, they would say you could become cops or criminals. But what I'm saying is this. When you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?” This line delivered by the mafia boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) in the first scene of The Departed emphasizes the major theme in the film concerning the trivial nature of morality. This theme is explored through the contrast of two morally opposed characters, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). Although they are both dealing in deception, William has chosen to dedicate his life to the greater good unlike Colin who has chosen a morally corrupt path. The comparison of these characters develops the themes of the importance of familial relationships and maintaining one’s identity. Through the use of the editing technique of crosscutting, the Director Martin Scorsese is able to directly compare the moral values of these characters. The depth of narration, camera movement, camera angles and rhythm of the cuts drive the audiences’ understanding of the characters and their internal struggles. The omniscient range of narration in The Departed allows the audience to witness the moral corruption in individuals and in the police. Colin’s deception and trickery within the Police Department is explicitly shown as he leaks important information to Frank, keeping him from being convicted of the various crimes that he commits. During the transaction of the microprocessors, through the use of crosscutting we are brought back and forth between the police attempting to incriminate Frank and his elusive dealings with the Chinese. While William is sending important information to Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) about the exchanging of money, Colin is keeping Frank one step ahead of the police. Through this the corruption within the police is directly revealed as Colin’s individual corruption leads to Frank getting away with the exchange. . The depth of narration serves as an important tool in exposing the internal struggle that William is experiencing. Through mental subjectivity, we are brought back to scenes in William’s past that demonstrate his suffering. When he enters Queenan’s office for the first time and is being interrogated by Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), he has a flashback of when he is by his mothers’ hospital bed as she is dying. This is prompted by
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Dignam’s aggressive judgments of William’s past. We see William insulting his uncle, saying he has disregarded William’s mother. He establishes that they will no longer have a relationship after his mother dies. As we witness his mother’s funeral, we are led to understand that William does not have any family. He has been surrounded by death as his mother and father have passed away. When William is in Madolyn’s (Vera Farmiga) office, and prompted to express how he feels, he reflects upon a time when he saw Mr.
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