This two-disc special edition from the godfather of cinema is certainly impressive in the picture quality department.
Martin Scorsese is in Oscar-winning form with his engrossing reworking of the Hong Kong gangster thriller Infernal Affairs.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star respectively as a cop and a crook. Both infiltrate the opposition and try to stay alive while feeding information to their real bosses. But soon they’re racing to learn each others’ identities when their superiors (Martin Sheen and a restrained Jack Nicholson) begin to suspect that their organisations have been infiltrated.
The decision to relegate all of the supplementary material bar the trailer to the second disc means it has been possible to encode The Departed at an optimal bitrate, and the results are certainly impressive. The image retains a natural, filmic look, maintaining the fine detail and colour presentation evident in the original cinema print.
While not as visually flashy some of Scorsese’s earlier work, the amount of care and attention put into this release means that The Departed’s transfer is about as good as picture quality gets from a standard-definition DVD.
The film’s 5.1 soundtrack is equally effective when it comes to replicating the original source material. It’s not the most bombastic track you’ll ever encounter, but when you consider the crystal-clear dialogue presentation, dynamic use of the surrounds and terrific music presentation, it soon becomes apparent that the mix never puts a foot wrong.
As I mentioned above, bar the theatrical trailer all of the bonus bits are relegated to a second disc (a slightly cheaper single-disc version is also available for those who aren’t bothered about such things).
Sadly, this means that there’s no commentary from a director acknowledged by many to be one of the industry’s greatest and most passionate speakers. But fans of Scorsese will find little else to grumble about here. The centrepiece of the disc is the 90-min Scorsese on Scorsese documentary, which finds the filmmaker looking back at his career and movies to date. The 21-minute Stranger Than Fiction featurette looks at the history of the real Boston mob, while the 24-minute Crossing Criminal Cultures explores the links between this and earlier Scorsese films, along with the gangster genre in general. Finally there’s a collection of deleted/extended scenes, each with an intro from the director.