REVIEW: SHUTTER ISLAND

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Patricia Clarkson (Easy A)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs_
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

In 1954, U.S. Marshals Edward “Teddy” Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule travel to the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor. They are investigating the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando, who was incarcerated for drowning her three children. Their only clue is a cryptic note found hidden in Solando’s room: “The law of 4; who is 67?” They arrive just before a storm hits, preventing their return to the mainland for a few days.Daniels and Aule find the staff confrontational. Dr. John Cawley, the lead psychiatrist, refuses to turn over records, and they learn that Solando’s doctor Lester Sheehan left the island on vacation immediately after Solando disappeared. They are given access to the hospital, but they are told that Ward C is off limits and that the lighthouse has already been searched. While being interviewed, one patient secretly writes the word “RUN” in Daniels’ notepad. Daniels starts to have migraine headaches from the hospital’s atmosphere and experiences waking visions of his involvement in the Dachau liberation reprisals. He has disturbing dreams of his wife Dolores Chanal, who was killed in a fire set by a local arsonist named Andrew Laeddis. In one instance, she tells him that Solando is still on the island somewhere—as is Laeddis, who everyone claims was never there to begin with. Daniels later explains to Aule that locating Laeddis was an ulterior personal motive for taking the case.During their investigation, Daniels and Aule find that Solando has abruptly resurfaced with no explanation as to her former whereabouts or how she escaped. This prompts Daniels to break into the restricted Ward C. There he encounters George Noyce, a patient in solitary confinement. Noyce warns him that the doctors are performing questionable experiments on the patients, some of whom are taken to the lighthouse to be lobotomized. Noyce warns Daniels that everyone else on the island is playing an elaborate game specifically designed for Daniels—including his partner Aule.Daniels regroups with Aule and is determined to investigate the lighthouse. They become separated while climbing the cliffs toward it, and Daniels later sees what he believes to be Aule’s body on the rocks below. By the time he climbs down, however, the body has disappeared, but he finds a cave where he discovers a woman in hiding who claims to be the real Rachel Solando. She states that she is a former psychiatrist at the hospital who discovered the experiments with psychotropic medication and trans-orbital lobotomy in an attempt to develop mind control techniques. Before she could report her findings to the authorities, however, she was forcibly committed to Ashecliffe as a patient. Daniels returns to the hospital, but finds no evidence of Aule ever being there.Daniels is convinced that Aule was taken to the lighthouse; he breaks into it only to discover Cawley calmly waiting there for him. Cawley explains that Daniels is actually Andrew Laeddis, their “most dangerous patient” incarcerated in Ward C for murdering his manic depressive wife Dolores Chanal after she drowned their children. Edward Daniels and Rachel Solando are anagrams of Andrew Laeddis and Dolores Chanal; furthermore, the little girl from Laeddis’ recurring dreams is his daughter Rachel.According to Cawley, the events of the past several days have been designed to break Laeddis’ conspiracy-laden insanity by allowing him to play out the role of Daniels. The hospital staff were part of the test, including Dr. Sheehan posing as Aule and a nurse posing as Rachel Solando. The migraines that Laeddis suffered were withdrawal symptoms from his medication, as were the hallucinations of the “real Rachel Solando”. Overwhelmed, Laeddis faints. Laeddis awakens in the hospital under watch of Cawley and Sheehan. When questioned, he tells the truth in a coherent manner, which satisfies the doctors as a sign of progression. Nevertheless, Cawley notes that they had achieved this state nine months before but Laeddis had quickly regressed, and further warns that this will be his last chance to redeem himself.Some time later, Laeddis relaxes on the hospital grounds with Dr. Sheehan, but he calls him “Chuck” and says that they need to leave the island. Sheehan shakes his head to an observing Cawley, who gestures to the orderlies towards Laeddis. Laeddis asks Dr. Sheehan if it is worse to live as a monster or die as a good man, and is then led away by the orderlies.Shutter Island iS a film that will make you question your own sanity. A film that will leave you breathless. A film that has re-ignited the thriller genre. A film that will leave you, and the main character, searching for answers.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

 

CAST
Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Tom Hanks (The Bonfire of The Vanities)
Christopher Walken (The prophecy)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Nathalie Baye (Tell No One)
Amy Adams (Batman v Superman)
James Brolin (The Amityville Horror)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
In 1963, teen-aged Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in New Rochelle, New York with his father Frank Abagnale, Sr. (Christopher Walken), and French mother Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a business loan at Chase Manhattan Bank due to unknown difficulties with the IRS, the family is forced to move from their large home to a small apartment. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a friend of her husband. Meanwhile, Frank poses as a substitute teacher in his French class. Frank’s parents file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of money, he begins relying on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank’s cons increase and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent, begins tracking Frank. Carl and Frank meet at a hotel, where Frank convinces Carl his name is Barry Allen of the Secret Service, and that he was also after the fraud. Frank leaves, Carl angrily realizing a minute too late that he has been fooled. Later, at Christmas, Carl is still at work when Frank calls him, attempting to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he will soon be caught, but laughs when he realizes Frank actually called him because he has no one else to talk to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to investigate, suddenly realizing (thanks to a waiter) that the name “Barry Allen” is from the Flash comic books and that Frank is actually a teenager.
Frank, meanwhile, has expanded his con to include the identities of a doctor and lawyer. While playing Dr. Frank Conners, he falls in love with Brenda (Amy Adams). While asking her father’s permission to marry her, he admits the truth about himself and asks for help with the Louisiana State Bar exam. Carl tracks him to his engagement party and Frank is able to sneak out a bedroom window minutes before Carl bursts in. Before leaving, Frank makes Brenda promise to meet him in Miami two days later so they can elope. Frank sees her waiting for him two days later, but also notices plainclothes agents waiting to arrest him, realizing he has been set up and escapes on a flight to Europe.
Seven months later, Carl shows his boss that Frank has been forging checks all over western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to look for him. When his boss refuses, Carl brings Frank’s checks to printing professionals who claim that the checks were printed in France. From an interview with Frank’s mother, Carl remembers that she was actually born in Montrichard, France. He goes there and locates Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he does not go with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he is lying at first, but Carl promises Frank he would never lie to him, and Carl takes him outside, where the French police escort him to prison.
The scene then flashes forward to a plane returning Frank home from prison, where Carl informs him that his father has died. Grief-stricken, Frank escapes from the plane and goes back to his old house, where he finds his mother with the man she left his father for, as well as a girl who Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank gives himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison, getting visits from time to time from Carl. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, which Frank accepts. While working at the FBI, Frank misses the thrill of the chase and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him. On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet arrived at work. However, Frank eventually arrives and they discuss their next case. The ending credits reveal that Frank has been happily married for 26 years, has three sons, lives in the Midwest, is still good friends with Carl, has caught some of the world’s most elusive money forgers, and earns millions of dollars each year because of his work creating unforgeable checks.
Stephen Spielberg does an outstanding job of orchestrating this wildly unpredictable film.  He’s able to expose the heart of the story with ease in this film, not cheating us out of anything at any point during the entire movie.This is a very well-made movie with top notch performances that definitely deserve recognition.

 

REVIEW: POISON IVY (1992)

CAST

Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet)
Sara Gilbert (The Big Bang Theory)
Tom Skerritt (Alien)
Cheryl Ladd (Unforgettable)
Jeanne Sakata (XXX 2)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me If You Can)

FIm0Kzkj1P7aov_1_aSylvie Cooper (Sara Gilbert) is a teenage girl at a private school for the wealthy. At a local hangout, she first meets Ivy (Drew Barrymore), a street-smart but poor and trashy girl, and witnesses Ivy mercy-killing a heavily wounded dog. In their second meeting, when Sylvie’s father Darrel (Tom Skerritt) comes to pick her up, Ivy asks for a ride, and Darrel reluctantly agrees. Ivy makes an excuse to sit in the front with Darrel. She puts her feet on the dashboard and deliberately allows her mini-skirt to fall back onto her hip, revealing her legs, which Darrel notices.poison_ivyA few weeks later, Sylvie invites Ivy to her house. She tells Ivy that Darrel is her adoptive father and that her biological father is African-American. She also says that she once tried to kill herself. They meet Sylvie’s sickly mother, Georgie (Cheryl Ladd), whom Ivy later wins over by talking about her scholarship and helping her unblock her oxygen tank. Soon after, as both of Sylvie’s parents enjoy Ivy’s company, they practically allow Ivy to move in. Ivy and Sylvie share clothes and sleep in the same bed. As they have similar figures, Georgie lends Ivy some of her clothes.3696d4affd4b2e847380b40b0444a5de

In an attempt to improve his failing career, Darrel decides to throw a party at his house, and enlists Sylvie to help him. However, Sylvie is needed at work on the night of the party (due to Ivy’s interference), so eventually Ivy assists Darrel during the party. After the party, she dances with Darrel in the kitchen and they hug. Georgie walks in on them and storms upstairs. Ivy apologizes to Georgie and claims that Darrel was under stress and she was only comforting him. Georgie believes Ivy, accepts a glass of champagne drugged with sleeping pills, and falls asleep. Ivy sits on the bed next to Georgie and begins to massage Darrel with her foot while he kisses her legs.kinopoisk.ruOver the next few days, Ivy continues changing her appearance and wears Georgie’s clothing more often. Sylvie becomes increasingly irritated with Ivy for her growing presence in her family, and her anger reaches a breaking point when even her dog chooses Ivy over her (in fact, it was because Ivy has some dog treats in her pockets). Sylvie skips school and tries to spend some time alone. Darrel picks Ivy up and they go into the forest, where Ivy gets Darrel drunk and has sex with him. The next morning, Georgie plays a cassette tape that Sylvie made for her and walks out onto her balcony. Ivy walks up behind Georgie, talks to her and without warning, pushes her off the balcony. As Georgie is known to have a mental illness and has threatened to commit suicide previously, Ivy is not suspected. A few weeks later, Sylvie talks Ivy into going for a ride in her mother’s sports car. When Sylvie becomes suspicious of her involvement in Georgie’s death, Ivy crashes the car, then moves the unconscious Sylvie into the driver’s seat.FIm0Kzkj1P7aov_1_aIn the hospital, Sylvie hallucinates that her mother is sitting in front of her. This inspires her to get back to her house in an attempt to save her father from Ivy. When she gets to her house there is a raging storm. She runs inside to get out of the rain, experiencing hallucinations all along the way. When she gets inside, she sees Darrel and Ivy having sex and flees the room. As Darrel goes to look for Sylvie, Ivy goes up to Georgie’s old room, plays the tape Sylvie made for Georgie, wears Georgie’s robe and walks out the balcony. Sylvie sees Ivy and, because of her head injury, believes that it is her mother, and makes her way to the balcony. Sylvie tells Georgie that she loves her and Georgie says she loves Sylvie too. When they kiss, Ivy begins to use her tongue, which breaks Sylvie out of her hallucination. Ivy says Georgie wanted to die and now the three of them can be a family. Sylvie pushes Ivy over the balcony, but Ivy holds onto Sylvie’s necklace. The chain breaks and Ivy falls to her death. The film ends with Sylvie narrating that she still loves and misses “her”, following the parallel between Ivy and Georgie.poison_ivyDrew Barrymore never looked better than she did in this film and it’s easy to see why Tom Skerritt is tempted by the teenage temptress. Sara Gilbert, who older readers may remember from Roseanne and younger readers as an occasional actress in The Big Bang Theory, plays a very good supporting role in this tight, memorable, and erotic thriller.

REVIEW: ROMEO + JULIET

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Claire Danes (Brokedown Palace)
John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas)
Brian Dennehy (First Blood)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Jesse Bradford (Swimfan)
Zak Orth (The Other Guys)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Diane Venora (The Jackal)
Vincent Laresca (COach Carter)
Miriam Margolyes (Babe)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Daredevil)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)

In Verona Beach, the Capulets and the Montagues are arch-rivals. The animosity of the older generation—Fulgencio and Gloria Capulet and Ted and Caroline Montague—is felt by their younger relatives. A gunfight between the Montague boys led by Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin, and the Capulet boys led by Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, creates chaos in the city. The Chief of Police, Captain Prince, reprimands the families, warning them that if such behavior continues, their lives “shall pay the forfeit of the peace”. Benvolio meets Romeo on a beach. While playing a game of pool they learn of a party being held by the Capulets that evening which they decide to gate-crash. Romeo agrees to come after discovering that Rosaline, with whom he is in love, is attending.The Montague boys meet their friend, Mercutio, who has tickets to the Capulet party. Romeo takes the ecstasy Mercutio gave him and they proceed to the Capulet mansion. The effects of the drug and the party overwhelm Romeo, who goes to the restroom. While admiring an aquarium, he and Juliet see each other and fall instantly in love. Tybalt spots Romeo and vows to kill him for invading his family’s home, but Fulgencio stops him.Romeo and Juliet sneak into an elevator and kiss. The nurse spots them when the doors open and drags Juliet away, while revealing to her that Romeo is a Montague. At the same time, Romeo realizes that Juliet is a Capulet. Mercutio takes Romeo from the party, but he sneaks back to the mansion, hiding under Juliet’s balcony. Juliet emerges into the yard and proclaims her love for him before Romeo sneaks up behind her. Juliet warns him that he is risking his life, but Romeo tells her he does not care whether he is caught. Knowing her nurse is looking for her, Juliet tells him that, if he sends word by the following day, they will be betrothed. Romeo visits Father Lawrence, telling him he wants to marry Juliet. He agrees to marry the pair in hopes that their marriage will help ease the tensions between the families. Romeo passes the word on to Juliet’s nurse and the lovers are married. Tybalt encounters Mercutio just as Romeo arrives. Romeo attempts to make peace, but Tybalt assaults him. Mercutio intervenes and batters Tybalt, and is about to finish him off by hitting him with a log when Romeo stops him. Tybalt then wounds Mercutio with a shard of glass, which Mercutio claims is merely “a scratch”. But as he realizes the cut is much worse than he thought, Mercutio curses both the Montagues and the Capulets before dying in Romeo’s arms. Enraged, Romeo chases after a fleeing Tybalt and guns him down.Captain Prince banishes Romeo from the city. Romeo goes into hiding with Father Lawrence, who treats Romeo’s injuries and says that, after some time passes, he will help Romeo and Juliet return to the city and reconcile with their family and friends. The nurse tells Romeo that Juliet is waiting for him. When Romeo climbs over Juliet’s balcony, she kisses him and they consummate their marriage. Fulgencio decides Juliet will marry Dave Paris, the governor’s son.The next morning, Romeo narrowly escapes as Juliet’s mother tells her that the family has promised she will marry Paris. She refuses to marry, so her father threatens to disown her. Her mother and nurse insist it would be in her best interest to marry Paris. To get out of this, Juliet runs away from home and sees Father Lawrence, very angrily imploring him to help her and threatening to commit suicide. Father Lawrence proposes she fake her own death and be put in the Capulet vault to awaken 24 hours later. Romeo will be told of the plot, sneak into the vault, and once reunited the two can travel to Mantua. He gives her the potion which mimics death. After saying goodnight to her mother, Juliet drinks the potion and falls into a coma. She is found in the morning, declared dead, and placed in the vault. Balthasar, one of Romeo’s cousins, learns that Juliet is dead and tells Romeo, who is not home when the messenger arrives to tell him of the plan.Romeo returns to Verona, where he buys poison. As he goes to the church, Captain Prince finds out he is back, and tries to capture him, without success. Father Lawrence learns that Romeo has no idea Juliet is alive. Romeo enters the church where Juliet lies and bids her goodbye. She awakens just as Romeo takes the poison; the two thus see each other before he dies. After he dies, Juliet picks up Romeo’s gun and shoots herself in the head, dying instantly. The two lovers are discovered in each other’s arms. Prince condemns both families, whose feuding led to such tragedy, and coroners remove the two bodies.Always loved this version. Wonderful for teenagers studying the play. Superb performances from every actor in the film, and such energy in the filming/direction,.

REVIEW: INCEPTION

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Tom Hardy (The Dark KNight Rises)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla)
Dileep Rao (Avatar)
Cillian Murphy (Red Lights)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Michael Caine (BAtman Begins)
Lukas Haas (Brick)
Talulah Riley (The Boat That Rocked)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)

Dominic “Dom” Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are “extractors”, who perform corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to infiltrate the subconscious of their targets and extract valuable information through a shared dream world. Their latest target, Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe), reveals that he arranged their mission himself to test Cobb for a seemingly-impossible job: planting an idea in a person’s subconscious, or “inception”.To break up the energy conglomerate of ailing competitor Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), Saito wants Cobb to convince Fischer’s son and heir, Robert (Cillian Murphy), to dissolve his father’s company. In return, Saito promises to use his influence to clear Cobb of a murder charge, allowing Cobb to return home to his children. Cobb accepts the offer and assembles his team: Eames (Tom Hardy), a conman and identity forger; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who concocts a powerful sedative for a stable “dream within a dream” strategy; and Ariadne (Ellen Page), an architecture student tasked with designing the labyrinth of the dream landscapes, recruited with the help of Cobb’s father-in-law, Professor Stephen Miles (Michael Caine). While dream-sharing with Cobb, Ariadne learns his subconscious houses an invasive projection of his late wife Mal (Marion Cotillard).When the elder Fischer dies in Sydney, Robert Fischer accompanies the body on a ten-hour flight back to Los Angeles, which the team (including Saito, who wants to verify their success) uses as an opportunity to sedate and take Fischer into a shared dream. At each dream level, the person generating the dream stays behind to set up a “kick” that will be used to awaken the other sleeping team members from the deeper dream level; to be successful, these kicks must occur simultaneously at each dream level, a fact complicated due to the nature of time which proceeds much faster in each successive level.The first level is Yusuf’s dream of a rainy Los Angeles. The team abducts Fischer, but they are attacked by armed projections from Fischer’s subconscious, which has been trained to defend against extraction. The team takes Fischer and a wounded Saito to a warehouse, where Cobb reveals that while dying in the dream would normally wake Saito up, the powerful sedatives needed to stabilize the multi-level dream will instead send a dying dreamer into “limbo”, a world of infinite subconscious from which escape is difficult and a dreamer risks forgetting they are in a dream. Despite these setbacks, the team continues with the mission. Eames impersonates Fischer’s godfather, Peter Browning (Tom Berenger), to suggest Fischer reconsider his father’s will. Yusuf drives the van as the other dreamers are sedated into the second level. In the second level, a hotel dreamed by Arthur, Cobb convinces Fischer that he has been kidnapped by Browning and Cobb is his subconscious protector. Cobb persuades him to go down another level to explore Browning’s subconscious (in reality, it is a ruse to enter Fischer’s).The third level is a fortified hospital on a snowy mountain dreamed by Eames. The team has to infiltrate it and hold off the guards as Cobb takes Fischer into the equivalent of his subconscious. Yusuf, under pursuit by Fischer’s projections in the first level, deliberately drives off a bridge and initiates his kick too soon. This removes the gravity of Arthur’s level, forcing him to improvise a new kick that will synchronize with the van hitting the water, and causes an avalanche in Eames’ level. Mal’s projection emerges and kills Fischer, Cobb kills Mal, and Saito succumbs to his wounds; all three fall into Limbo. While Eames sets up a kick by rigging the hospital with explosives, Cobb and Ariadne enter Limbo to rescue Fischer and Saito.Cobb reveals to Ariadne that he and Mal went to Limbo while experimenting with the dream-sharing technology. Sedated for a few hours of real time, they spent fifty years in dream time constructing a world from their shared memories. When Mal refused to return to reality, Cobb used a rudimentary form of inception by reactivating her totem (an object dreamers use to distinguish dreams from reality) and reminding her subconscious that their world was not real. However, when she woke up, Mal was still convinced that she was dreaming. In an attempt to “wake up” for real, Mal committed suicide and framed Cobb for her death to force him to do the same. Facing a murder charge, Cobb fled the U.S., leaving his children in the care of Professor Miles. Through his confession, Cobb makes peace with his guilt over Mal’s death. Ariadne kills Mal’s projection and wakes Fischer up with a kick. Revived at the mountain hospital, Fischer enters a safe room to discover and accept the planted idea: a projection of his dying father telling him to be his own man. While Cobb remains in Limbo to search for Saito, the other team members ride the synchronized kicks back to reality. Cobb eventually finds an aged Saito in Limbo and reminds him of their agreement. The dreamers all awaken on the plane and Saito makes a phone call.Upon arrival at Los Angeles Airport, Cobb passes the U.S. immigration checkpoint and Professor Miles accompanies him to his home. Cobb tests reality using his totem, a spinning top that spins indefinitely in a dream world, but ignores its result and instead joins his children in the garden.Christopher Nolan’s intelligent and complex SF movie is an intriguing thriller. similar to the director’s other perplexing movie, Memento, it is a film which rewards with each repeat viewing. Definitely a film to watch, probably more than once.

REVIEW: THE DEPARTED

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Jack Nicholson (Batman)
Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Ray Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Anthony Anderson (Transformrs)
Alec Baldwin (Mission Impossible 5)
Kevin Corrigan (Superbad)
James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3)
David O’Hara (Braveheart)
Mark Rolston (Eraser)
Kristen Dalton (Tango & Cash)
J.C. Mackenzie (Dark Angel)

As a child, Colin Sullivan (Damon) had been introduced to organized crime by Irish-American mobster Frank Costello (Nicholson) in the Irish neighborhood of South Boston. Over the years, Costello grooms him to become a mole inside the Massachusetts State Police, until Sullivan is accepted into the Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on organized crime. Before graduating from the police academy, Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is recruited by Captain Queenan (Sheen) and Staff Sergeant Dignam (Wahlberg) to go undercover, as his family ties to organized crime make him a perfect infiltrator. He drops out of the academy and does time in prison on a fake assault charge to increase his credibility.

Each man infiltrates his respective organization, and Sullivan begins a romance with police psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Farmiga). Costigan is seeing her under the terms of his probation, and they begin a relationship, too. After Costello escapes a sting operation, each mole becomes aware of the other’s existence. Sullivan is told to find the “rat” and asks Costello for information to identify the informer.

Costigan follows Costello into a porn theater, where Costello gives Sullivan an envelope containing personal information on his crew members. Costigan chases Sullivan through Chinatown. When it is over, neither man knows the other’s identity. Sullivan has Queenan tailed to a meeting with Costigan on the roof of a building. Queenan orders Costigan to flee while he confronts Costello’s men alone. The men then throw Queenan off the building to his death. When they exit, Costigan pretends he has come to join them. Television news reveals that crew member Delahunt (Rolston) has been an undercover cop, working for the Boston Police Department. Dignam resigns rather than work with Sullivan, who he suspects is the mole after he is asked why he had Queenan followed.

Using Queenan’s phone, Sullivan reaches Costigan, who refuses to abort his mission. Sullivan learns from Queenan’s diary of Costello’s role as an informant for the FBI, causing him to worry about his own identity being revealed. With Costigan’s help, Costello is traced to a cocaine drop-off, where a gunfight erupts between Costello’s crew and the police, which results in most of the crew being killed. Costello, confronted by Sullivan, admits he is an FBI informant. Costello tries to shoot Sullivan, but Sullivan shoots him multiple times. With Costello dead, Sullivan is applauded the next day by everyone on the force. In good faith, Costigan comes to Sullivan for restoration of his true identity and to be paid for his work, but notices the envelope from Costello on Sullivan’s desk and flees, finally realizing Sullivan is the enemy. Fearing retaliation, Sullivan erases Costigan’s records from the police computer system.

Sullivan is unaware that Madolyn had an affair with Costigan when she tells Sullivan that she is pregnant. Later, Sullivan finds her listening to a CD from Costigan containing incriminating recorded conversations between Costello and Sullivan. Sullivan unsuccessfully attempts to assuage her suspicions. He then contacts Costigan, who reveals that Costello recorded every one of their conversations, that Costello’s attorney left Costigan in possession of the recordings, and that Costigan intends to implicate Sullivan. The two agree to meet at the building where Queenan died.

On the roof, Costigan catches Sullivan off-guard and handcuffs him. As Costigan had secretly arranged, Trooper Brown (Anderson) appears on the roof as well. Shocked, Brown draws his gun on Costigan, who attempts to justify his actions by exposing Sullivan as Costello’s mole. Costigan asks Brown why Dignam did not accompany him as Costigan had requested, but Brown does not answer. Costigan leads Sullivan, his hostage, to the elevator. When it reaches the ground floor, Trooper Barrigan (Dale) shoots Costigan in the head, then shoots Brown, and afterward reveals to Sullivan that Costello had more than one mole in the police. Sullivan then shoots and kills Barrigan. At state police headquarters, Sullivan identifies Barrigan as the mole and has Costigan posthumously given the Medal of Merit. At Costigan’s funeral, Sullivan notices that Madolyn is tearful. As they leave the gravesite, Sullivan attempts to talk to her, but she ignores him. When Sullivan returns to his apartment, he is ambushed by Dignam, who shoots and kills him as he enters.With its clever plot, excellent acting and expert direction, The Departed is without doubt a brillaint film.

REVIEW: BLOOD DIAMOND

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)
Djimon Hounsou (Guaridans of The Galaxy)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Kagiso Kuypers  (Elalini)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
David Harewood (Supergirl)
Basil Wallace (Marked For Death)
Jimi Mistry (The Guru)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Stephen Collins (No Ordinary Family)
Ntare Mwine (Heroes)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack  (Lost)

It is 1999 and Sierra Leone is ravaged by major political unrest. Rebel factions such as the Revolutionary United Front frequently terrorize the countryside, intimidating Mende locals and enslaving many to harvest diamonds, which fund their increasingly successful war effort. One such unfortunate local is fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) from Shenge, who is separated from his family and assigned to a workforce overseen by Captain Poison (David Harewood), a ruthless warlord.One morning, Vandy discovers an enormous pink diamond in the riverbank. Captain Poison tries to take the stone, but the area is suddenly raided by government troops. Vandy buries the stone before being captured. Both Vandy and Poison are incarcerated in Freetown, along with Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio), a white Rhodesian gunrunner jailed while trying to smuggle diamonds into Liberia. They were intended for Rudolph van de Kaap, a corrupt South African mining executive.Hearing of the pink diamond in prison, Archer arranges for himself and Vandy to be freed from detention. He travels to Cape Town to meet his employer: Colonel Coetzee (Arnold Vosloo), an Afrikaner formerly with the apartheid-era South African Defence Force, who now commands a private military company. Archer wants the diamond so he can sell it and leave the continent forever, but Coetzee wants it as compensation for Archer’s botched smuggling mission. Archer returns to Sierra Leone, locates Vandy, and offers to help him find his family if he will help recover the diamond.Meanwhile, RUF insurgents escalate hostilities; Freetown falls to their advance while Vandy’s son Dia (Kagiso Kuypers) is among those rounded up to serve as a child soldier under a liberated Captain Poison. Archer and Vandy narrowly escape to Lungi, where they plan to reach Kono with an American journalist, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly); in exchange, Archer will provide evidence on the illicit diamond trade. The trio arrive in Kono after a harrowing journey, where Coetzee and his private army — contracted by the Sierra Leone government — prepares to repulse the rebel offensive.While Maddy gets out with her story, the two men set out for Captain Poison’s encampment. Dia, stationed with the RUF garrison there, is confronted by Vandy, but having been brainwashed he refuses to acknowledge his father. Archer radios the site’s coordinates to Coetzee, who directs a combined air and ground assault on the camp; Vandy finds Captain Poison and beats him to death with a shovel as the mercenaries overwhelm the RUF defenders. Coetzee then forces Vandy to produce the diamond, but is killed by Archer, who realizes Coetzee would eventually kill them both. Dia holds the pair briefly at gunpoint, but Vandy confronts him again and renews their bond. Pursued by vengeful mercenaries, Archer discloses he has been mortally wounded and entrusts the stone to Vandy, telling him to take it for his family. Vandy and his son rendezvous with Archer’s pilot, who flies them to safety while Archer makes a final phone call to Maddy; they share final farewells as he asks her to assist Vandy, and gives her permission to finish her article. Archer finally takes in the beautiful African landscape before (presumably) dying.Vandy arrives in London and meets with a van de Kaap representative; he exchanges the pink diamond for a large sum of money and being reunited with his entire family. Maddy takes photographs of the deal to publish in her article on the diamond trade, exposing van de Kaap’s criminal actions. Vandy appears as a guest speaker at a conference on “blood diamonds” in Kimberley, and is met with a standing ovation. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the film. Compelling characters and the skillful use of a truly gripping global issue as the plot line make this a satisfying viewing experience- one that I would happily see again. Definitely worth a watch