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Monday, May 27, 2024

The Departed (4K UHD SteelBook Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


An undercover cop and a mole on the police force must race to identify each other in a life and death scenario while law enforcement tries to bring down the Irish mob in Boston.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Martin Scorsese returns to the gangster genre for 2006’s The Departed, inspired by the successful Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs and in many ways by the real-life Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger as well.

Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young police officer trying to move up in the force, but his family’s criminal ties and his dysfunctional upbringing work against him. Collin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is a streetwise kid who came up under the tutelage of crime syndicate head Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) and has now entered the state police force, passing the detective’s exam at once, with the sole purpose of spying for Frank. With the government’s task force to bring down the organized crime groups in Boston hitting a snag, they decide to send in an undercover agent to spy on Frank. The choice is Billy, whom they purposely kick off the force and charge with assault and have do a stint in prison to make him seem more legitimately acceptable to the mobsters. It does not hurt that his family already has ties to the mob either.

Meanwhile, as Billy gets deeper into the mob and closer to Frank, Collin is working on the inside of law enforcement thwarting his every move, making his undercover stint more dangerous. The cops begin to suspect they have a mole at the same time Frank begins to suspect he has a cop in the gang. Both men must now work quickly to expose the other first to save themselves.

Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Vera Farmiga, and Ray Winstone co-star in this taut, edge-of-the-seat thriller from Scorsese. DiCaprio and Damon are superbly cast in this film as well, with DiCaprio wonderfully playing the emotionally scarred cop with the perfect background to slide easily into the world of the gangsters, reining in his emotions where need be and letting loose, particularly when meeting with Vera Farmiga who plays a police psychiatrist. Damon gives off the perfect good guy, boy scout sort of appeal to go undercover as a mole on the police force on the payroll of one of the most brutal gangsters in Boston.

Add to this Scorsese’s signature visual palette, here updated to a more modern standard, and using lots of isolated figures as if to show how each character is battling their own personal demons, and this is a marvelously complex and multilayered film.

Purchase The Departed Limited Edition 4K SteelBook on Amazon.com

Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin in The Departed (2006)
  • Matt Damon in The Departed (2006)
  • Jack Nicholson in The Departed (2006)
  • Ray Winstone in The Departed (2006)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Vera Farmiga in The Departed (2006)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed (2006)
  • The Departed Limited 4K Edition SteelBook (Warner Bros.)
  • The Departed Limited 4K Edition SteelBook (Warner Bros.)
  • The Departed Limited 4K Edition SteelBook (Warner Bros.)

The Video

The 4K remaster of The Departed was completed at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) with the participation of the film’s Academy Award-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator). It is presented on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a 2.40:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) HDR10 encodement with a MaxLL of 452 nits and MaxFALL of 91 nits. The HDR grading does not add too much extra brightness to the transfer, but there is just enough ‘pop’ in certain highlights to help the image standout. The 35mm (Kodak Vision2 200T 5217, Vision2 500T 5218, Vision2 Expression 500T 5229) film stock comes through in an organic way, looking very natural, with a thin, tight layer of granularity, and no apparent source damage. I did not see any issues with smearing or anything like that and there was plenty of detail. The contrast was strong as well. This can be a bit of a murky and dark film at times, such as when Billy follows Colin into the porn theater at night or some flashback scenes that purposely heighten the grain, but these scenes still look natural and noise-free as well.

The Audio

The Departed comes to 4K Ultra HD with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. This is a more atmospheric and dialogue driven mix, but it works, surrounding you in a tight and dynamic soundscape that hits deeply with good lows where they need to, some directional panning across the front, and subtle use of the surround channels. The score is nicely balanced and clean in the speakers, gunshots come through without ear-piercing highs, and overall this is satisfying for this sort of film.

The Supplements

There is one new featurette on the film included and the rest of the bonus features are a few previously released extras. A Movies Anywhere digital code of the film in 4K is also provided.

Bonus Features:

  • Movies Anywhere Digital Code
  • Guilt and Betrayal: Looking into The Departed (1080p; 00:15:05) (NEW)
  • Stranger than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie, and The Departed (1080p; 00:21:07)
  • Crossing Criminal Cultures (1080p; 00:24:04)
  • Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Martin Scorsese (1080p; 00:19:25)

The Final Assessment

The Departed is without a doubt one of Scorsese’s strongest latter career films, arguably not surpassed or equaled until The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). This 4K release looks and sounds solid, better than the film has ever looked.

The Departed Limited Edition 4K SteelBook is out April 23, 2024 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Purchase The Departed Limited Edition 4K SteelBook on Amazon.com

  • Rating Certificate: R (for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material)
  • Studios & Distributors: Warner Bros. | Plan B Entertainment | Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) | Vertigo Entertainment | Media Asia Films | Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Written By: William Monahan | Alan Mak | Felix Chong
  • Run Time: 151 Mins.
  • Street Date: 23 April 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: HDR10
    • MaxLL: 452 nits
    • MaxFALL: 91 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: Spanish DD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH | Spanish

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An undercover cop and a mole on the police force must race to identify each other in a life and death scenario while law enforcement tries to bring down the Irish mob in Boston.The Departed (4K UHD SteelBook Review)