Film Four · Thriller · 15 Nov 2010 · by: Film 4

After five previous nominations, director Martin Scorsese finally picked up the Oscar he so richly deserved for this crackling, taut thriller, based on Alan Mak and Andrew Lau's Infernal Affairs . Matt Damon plays Colin Sullivan, spotted as a kid by gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), who grooms him to become a successful cop, Frank's eyes and ears inside. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, who comes from a family with previous. Enlisting into the police force, he is sent undercover into Costello's gang. Both sides know they have an informer in their midst and both use their man to try and uncover the identity of the other. As each gets closer to their target, the tension on both sides rise.

From each actor, Scorsese elicits probably their finest performances. DiCaprio shows his acting chops here; brutal, foul mouthed yet still fragile, aware that one slip will cost him his life. Damon is the epitome of duplicity as the bent cop while Nicholson gives a rare restrained performance that makes Costello a much more frightening gangster, one who is cerebral as well as violent. Even the supporting actors give outstanding performances; Mark Wahlberg, as Sgt Dignam, one of Costigan's 'handlers' is a terrifying out-of control figure. Given the story and the cast, almost any director would have made a decent fist of it but only Scorsese could produce a masterpiece to rank alongside Once Upon a Time in America , Goodfellas , Casino and Heat .



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