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The Departed Ending Explained

The Departed: Ending Explained with 7 Interesting Facts

Released in 2006, “The Departed” is a gripping crime thriller directed by Martin Scorsese. Known for its intense performances, intricate plot, and shocking twists, the film’s ending leaves viewers pondering its deeper meanings. In this article, we will explore “The Departed” ending, providing an explanation alongside seven interesting facts about the film. Additionally, we will address 14 common questions raised by viewers, providing insightful answers from industry professionals.

**The Departed Ending Explained**

“The Departed” concludes with a dramatic climax that leaves audiences stunned. In the final scenes, the two main characters, undercover cop Billy Costigan (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and mob mole Colin Sullivan (played by Matt Damon), face off against each other. Both men are aware of each other’s true identities and engage in a deadly confrontation. During this intense showdown, Sullivan is killed by another police officer while Costigan is fatally shot by a mob member. The film’s closing moments are marked by a sense of tragedy and loss as the two protagonists, each struggling with their dual loyalties, meet their ultimate fate.

**Interesting Facts about “The Departed”**

1. **Based on a Hong Kong film:** “The Departed” is a remake of the critically acclaimed Hong Kong film, “Infernal Affairs” (2002), directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. Scorsese’s adaptation was highly praised and went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

2. **A stellar ensemble cast:** “The Departed” boasts an exceptional cast, featuring not only DiCaprio and Damon but also Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen. Their performances garnered widespread acclaim, with Nicholson receiving an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Irish mob boss Frank Costello.

3. **Real-life inspirations:** The character of Frank Costello is loosely based on the notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. Scorsese drew inspiration from Bulger’s criminal activities and the corrupt connections he had with the FBI.

4. **Controversial ending deviation:** The ending of “The Departed” differs significantly from the conclusion of “Infernal Affairs.” While the Hong Kong original concludes with both moles surviving, Scorsese opted for a more tragic ending, adding a layer of emotional impact to the story.

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5. **Symbolic rat imagery:** Throughout “The Departed,” Scorsese employs the use of rat imagery as a metaphor for betrayal and deception. The film opens with a rat crawling across the Massachusetts State House, a visual representation of the infiltrators within the police force and the mob.

6. **Critique of identity:** “The Departed” delves into the theme of identity, exploring the psychological toll of living a double life. Both Costigan and Sullivan struggle with their dual allegiances, leading to a sense of existential crisis and ultimately their tragic demise.

7. **Exploration of morality:** The film poses ethical questions surrounding the actions of its characters. It challenges viewers to grapple with the blurred lines between right and wrong, showcasing the corrupting influence of power and the choices individuals make in morally ambiguous situations.

**Frequently Asked Questions:**

1. *Why did Sullivan kill Queenan?* Sullivan kills Captain Queenan (played by Martin Sheen) to protect his own identity as a mob mole. Queenan had discovered Sullivan’s true allegiance and was about to expose him, forcing Sullivan to take drastic measures to maintain his cover.

2. *Did Costigan die for nothing?* While Costigan tragically dies in the line of duty, his actions were not in vain. By infiltrating Costello’s gang, he provides crucial information that leads to the downfall of the Boston mob and the arrest of several high-ranking criminals.

3. *Why didn’t Costigan reveal Sullivan’s identity earlier?* Costigan had no concrete evidence linking Sullivan to the mob, making it difficult to expose him without risking his own cover. Additionally, Costigan’s main objective was to dismantle the mob network, not merely expose Sullivan.

4. *What was the significance of the rat at the end?* The rat crawling across the balcony in the final shot serves as a powerful symbol of the pervasive corruption that exists within both law enforcement and organized crime. It underscores the film’s central theme of betrayal and deception.

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5. *Is “The Departed” based on a true story?* While the film draws inspiration from real-life events and characters, it is not a direct retelling of any specific true story. It is a work of fiction that weaves elements of organized crime, police corruption, and the psychological toll of double lives.

6. *Did the ending surprise Scorsese himself?* According to Scorsese, the ending was intended to be surprising and shocking for the audience. He wanted to create a sense of unpredictability and emotional impact, which he achieved through the tragic fate of both protagonists.

7. *Why did Damon’s character smile before his death?* Sullivan’s smile before his death can be interpreted as a mix of relief and acceptance. He had been leading a life of constant anxiety and fear, and his death brought an end to his torment, even if it meant paying the ultimate price.

8. *What was the significance of the police academy scene?* The police academy scene early in the film highlights the contrast between Costigan and Sullivan. It emphasizes their differing motivations and backgrounds, foreshadowing the conflict that will arise as they confront each other later in the story.

9. *Could Costigan have survived if he hadn’t shot Sullivan?* It is uncertain whether Costigan would have survived if he hadn’t shot Sullivan. Given the intense confrontation and the presence of other mob members, the likelihood of Costigan escaping unharmed was slim.

10. *What happened to the character Madolyn?* Madolyn (played by Vera Farmiga), a psychiatrist who becomes romantically involved with both Costigan and Sullivan, is left traumatized by the events of the film. The audience is left to speculate on her future, as the focus shifts to the aftermath of the main conflict.

11. *Why did “The Departed” win Best Picture?* “The Departed” won Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards due to its exceptional direction, compelling performances, and its ability to engage audiences with its gripping and intense storyline. The film’s exploration of complex themes and its impeccable execution made it a standout among its competition.

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12. *What is the significance of the film’s title?* The title “The Departed” refers to those who have passed away. It can be interpreted as a reference to the characters who lose their lives in the film, but also symbolizes the loss of innocence, trust, and morality in the corrupt world they inhabit.

13. *Is there a deeper meaning to the Xs in the film?* The repeated use of Xs in “The Departed” serves as a visual motif, representing the characters’ fates and marking moments of climax or resolution. It can be seen as a symbolic representation of the choices and consequences faced by the characters throughout the film.

14. *Would a sequel to “The Departed” be possible?* While a sequel to “The Departed” has not been officially announced, the film’s complex universe and rich characters could potentially lend themselves to further exploration. However, as of 2024, no concrete plans for a sequel have been revealed.

**Final Thoughts**

“The Departed” is a masterclass in filmmaking, skillfully weaving together complex characters, intense action, and moral dilemmas. Its ending, marked by tragedy and betrayal, leaves a lasting impact on viewers. Through its exploration of identity, morality, and the price of deception, the film continues to captivate audiences, even years after its release. As one industry professional remarks, “The Departed’s ending is a testament to Scorsese’s genius in crafting an emotionally charged and thought-provoking cinematic experience.” Another professional adds, “The film’s lasting impact lies in its ability to blur the lines between heroes and villains, leaving audiences questioning the true nature of justice.” In conclusion, “The Departed” remains a timeless classic that continues to intrigue and provoke discussions among both casual viewers and film enthusiasts alike.