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by Jenina Singh, staff writer
The plot is intriguing and full of ambiguity. Revolving around two moles, undercover operatives, one in the FBI and one in the Costello mob; the FBI agent, Sullivan, is a mob plant. The mob mole, Costigan, is an undercover cop. Each needs to expose the other before their own identities are exposed.

The opening shows scenes of Boston, with narration by Jack Nicolson’s character, Frank Costello, mob boss for Boston’s Irish mafia. He preaches that he doesn’t want to be a product of his environment, but he wants his environment to be a product of his action: if you want something in this country, it’s not going to be handed to you, he says: “You gotta take it.”

He continues: “When I was growing up, they told us you were either a cop or a criminal.” As his face is finally shown for the first time, emerging from a faded silhouette, he adds: “I say, when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?”

The main protagonists are Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). Both are pretending to be something they’re not, lying about who they really are, killing people, and helping the bad guys for different reasons.

Damon plays Sullivan, the FBI agent loyal to Costello. The moment the FBI team is about to make a move on Costello, Sullivan calls Costello; pretending to talk to his father, Sullivan warns the mob.
Costigan was born into a Mafia family, but tries to escape his environment, which is his big handicap in becoming a Massachusetts state trooper. Costigan has an uncle involved with the mob, a cousin who deals cocaine, and other criminal relatives.

He seizes an opportunity to get into the FBI by going undercover for the special investigative unit as a mole in Costello’s crew. When accepted by the mob, Costigan performs murderous grunt work, beating up bookies, and even killing those who don’t pay up.

Both FBI and the mob suspect a mole in their group, and everyone is trying to find “the rat,”especially Sullivan and Costigan, who desperately try to find each other before they get killed.

Two scenes in the movie take place at funerals, one towards the beginning of the movie, one towards the end. At the first funeral, there is a set of flowers from Costello with a card that has Mother Mary on it along with a statement that is later reiterated by the priest at the second funeral. It says, “Heaven holds the faithful departed.”

Several moments in the movie show Sullivan’s character staring regretfully at the church where he once was an altar boy. Costigan’s character has similar moments when he looks at pictures of his childhood with his parents. Both characters long for what they once had, what they once were, and what they left behind. Sullivan and Costigan have become “the departed.”

The two moles, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), meet in a confrontation to expose each other.

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