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The Departed

3 stars out of five

Much splat, little art

In the same week as Toronto law-enforcement officers were charged in a grow-op, drug trafficking/money laundering bust and Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s investiture into the Order of Canada reignited the abortion debate, it proved instructive to view Martin Scorsese’s brain-splattered view of double-dealing deception American style.

Those with a taste for exploding heads and execution by being thrown from tall buildings (in this case with a colleague: Leonardo DiCaprio close enough after the sudden impact to wear this ex-friend’s blood) will savour every frame.

Those hoping for a subtle message or redeeming social theme intertwined between the scenes of murder and mayhem will come away as empty as the souls that are portrayed.

Jack Nicholson plays the chief bad guy as only he can but seems content to rework nearly every other “nasty” film he’s ever made. As the love interest/shrink, Madolyn, Vera Farmiga gets the production’s best silent line. In mute reply to his withering inquiry, “What about the baby?” she walks past one-time lover Matt Damon with a coldness that could chill Antarctica. Clearly, the disillusioned psychiatrist has already visited a clinic of a holy/wholly different kind. JWR

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