April 20, 2024

THE DEPARTED 4K SteelBook is a Big Deal

2006 / 151 min
Review by Mr. Bonnie, the Barbarian😹

While not Martin Scorsese’s greatest gangster film (Goodfellas will always hold that title), the 4K UHD SteelBook release of The Departed is a very big deal…at least in my house. 

First off, The Departed was one of the first Blu-rays I purchased after switching to the format. The picture and sound quality of that one was pretty good, noticeably sharper than the DVD. However, the overall 4K image is even better. This is especially apparent in close-ups and some of the scenes relying on shadow for dramatic effect. I didn’t notice a huge difference in the audio quality, though the DTS-HD Master Audio sounds terrific.

Another significant reason to upgrade is Warner Bros actually includes a brand new bonus feature, and it’s a good one. Scorsese looks back at the film, discussing how he came to make it and why, as well as a few of the hurdles he faced during production. In a surprising revelation, he believed that disagreements with the studio over the ending might have resulted in The Departed being his swan song as a director. Thank god that didn’t happen. My only complaint about this bonus feature is that it isn’t long enough…I could listen to him talk about movies and the filmmaking process all day.

Wondering who's gonna pick up the check.
The other reasons this release is a big deal are more personal. SteelBooks are the hardcover novels of physical media, and when at all possible, it’s nice when those special movies come with new packaging and artwork. Since I consider Scorsese one of our greatest living directors, any time one of his titles is made available in a SteelBook edition…just shut up and take my money. The Departed SteelBook has a neat matte finish and a montage of the three main characters, with a symbolic ‘X’ imposed over them (Scorsese explains its origins and significance in one of the bonus features). It’s also cool to have a digital copy, which obviously didn’t exist back in the early Blu-ray days. While watching films digitally is not preferable, I like having it handy during those visits to my mother-in-law’s house. 

As for the film itself…The Departed remains something of a milestone in Scorsese’s career, being the only film that got him a looooong overdue Oscar for Best Director. In a perfect world, he’d have already won a fistful by then and I believe the Academy gave him a statue for this one just to right past wrongs. But even if it’s no Goodfellas, Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, The Departed remains one of the better, more rewatchable gangster films of the 21st Century, and for Scorsese fans, owning it in 4K is a pretty big deal.


GUILT AND BETRAYAL: LOOKING INTO THE DEPARTED - An all new interview with director Martin Scorsese. 

VINTAGE FEATURETTES - The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed looks at some of the partial inspiration for the film; Crossing Criminal Cultures is an excellent 20 minute featurette that focuses on how Scorsese’s personal experiences inspire his gangster films.



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