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Matt Damon News Column
Departed reviews
  • The Departed opens in the US and the UK today, and is expected to compete for top box-office honors this weekend. Here's a selection of the reviews relating to Matt's performance.

    Dallas Morning News
    You could get into a rousing debate over who gives the best performance, but the revelatory turn belongs to Mr. Damon. Some still choose to blithely dismiss him as an empty suit, but he's always had a rough-and-tumble, charismatic set of street smarts that leaps off the screen in the right role. This is the right role. He struts, he cracks wise, he sets his fellow cops up to die. His first encounter with Ms. Farmiga's shrink is a classic pickup scene full of humor and heat. More important, his clean-cut charm creates a dynamic friction between actor and role, the same kind of rich incongruity that allows Sullivan to con his police colleagues.

    Washington Post
    Even more of a revelation is Damon, who delivers a complicated, convincing and often surprisingly spontaneous performance as a politically ambitious cop. It doesn't hurt that South Boston and its tribal subtleties are things Damon knows well; when Sullivan looks longingly out of his apartment at the Massachusetts Statehouse, it's impossible not to see a slightly harder-edged version of Will Hunting behind the gaze.

    Los Angeles Daily News
    Damon is even better, turning Sullivan from a charming and skillful liar to a twitchy careerist consumed by self-preservation. Think of Damon's furtive work in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and then take it one step further. This in an actor who digs deep and consistently amazes you.

    New York Daily News
    With young stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon finally fulfilling their promise, and wily veteran Jack Nicholson adding another indelible character to his rich gallery, "The Departed" gets off to a ripping start and doesn't let up until its third or fourth twist ending.
    Damon, who grew up in the Boston area and has the best accent, plays Sullivan as if being a dirty cop were the most honorable career a kid from the streets could have.
    It won't happen, but these three guys deserve spots on the same Oscar ballot.

    Boston Globe
    Damon's playing a more multi-leveled game, though, and under that mashed pretty-boy face we glimpse a whole spectrum of rat emotion: greed, ambition, cowardice, and a pathetic sort of loyalty.

    Baltimore Sun
    Under Scorsese's direction, they meet the high-stakes challenge. Damon and Nicholson match up perfectly: The man without virtue, Sullivan, becomes the tool of Costello, the man without limits. Damon has a rare aptitude for expressing hollowness and the ache of hollowness, and the charm and wit a savvy guy can use to cover it up.

    Salt Lake Tribune
    In an ensemble of great actors (including Ray Winstone as Costello's right-hand thug), Damon and DiCaprio make a ferocious double act. They work off each other dynamically, even though they share few scenes together (Scorsese's intercutting is seamless, with all credit to his longtime editor, Thelma Schoonmaker). Both actors generate strong sparks with Farmiga, who should now be able to retire her title as the best American actress nobody's heard of.
    The Damon/DiCaprio pairing is so powerful that Nicholson, for a change, has to break a sweat to steal the movie from them.

    Harvard Crimson
    Oh, and then there’s Matt and Leo. Damon—in his first role as a bad guy since "School Ties"—nails the character’s cocky arrogance and, playing off his Bay State roots, delivers the best Bostonian accent in the film.

    Guardian (UK)
    Matt Damon gives the best performance of his career as the creepy and conceited young wiseguy Colin Sullivan.

    Telegraph (UK)
    Damon, a consistently under-rated actor, makes full use of his coltish but brawny man-boy demeanour both to ingratiate himself with his department, and then to subvert it.

    The same goes for DiCaprio and Damon, with the latter building nicely on his morally flawed roles in Syriana and the Bourne movies to deliver a stinging and tragic portrait of someone prepared to sell his soul for career advancement and an upper-class lifestyle.

    Pasadena Weekly
    Scorsese clearly trusts his actors, but the script provides much more embellishment. Damon is perfectly cast: He’s playing a variation of the lying manipulators in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and (to a lesser degree) the "Bourne" pictures; for a leading man, he is amazingly adept at being slickly untrustworthy.

    Salt Lake City Weekly
    But even work as colorful as theirs can’t overshadow the magnificent performances of Damon and DiCaprio. Both seem destined to belong to the Paul Newman Club of actors so good looking that their talent might not be fully appreciated until they get their subscriptions to Modern Maturity. Yet they’re both in top form here as men so immersed in playing roles that they begin to lose a sense of who they really are. Nicholson gets to be his inimitably showy self—descending into paranoia and curling his eyebrows around speeches about rats—but The Departed belongs to his two young co-stars.

  • The poster for The Good Shepherd is here.
  • 11 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 6th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Thanks for all the reviews, Felicity. The New York Times also loved it (and Matt). Here's the link. Thanks again, Felicity. You're a dedicated dear-----Joyce

    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 6th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
    wow they are such great reviews! he must be absolutely fantastic- i can't wait to see it. nice poster too!
    From: sunnysanstar Date: October 6th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
    What a shining compilation of reviews, Felicity. I'm amazed you tracked them all done. They must have been tough to weed through as well. Normally I don't read reviews at all, but you've cut them down to everything I need to know (all things Matt). My hat goes off to you, my dear. :)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
    OMG!! i just saw the departed and it was soooooooooo amazing!!!!!! Matt did an amazing job and i loved him being the bad guy !!!!! he was so hot too. the other actors did a good job too but i thought matt was the best of course
    From: jeff_in_utah Date: October 7th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)

    Talk about high praise!

    It's so great to see all this recognition for Matt -- and what recognition! These accolades are absolutely stellar. I can't wait to see the movie this weekend!

    Thanks for gathering all these excerpts, Felicity, and for all the time you've taken lately to keep us all informed of the many notable news items about Matt right now -- it's greatly appreciated!

    Also? I'm sure you were just gathering the most favorable items from wherever you could find them, but I'll take the quotes from the two Salt Lake City papers as a shout-out, thankyouverymuch! ;-)

    - Jeff in Salt Lake City
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: October 7th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Talk about high praise!

    I think I like that city :-)

    Here's a few more:

    Hand him his certificate; Matt Damon has graduated to another level of acting. Scorsese gets the absolute best there is out of Damon who, on the surface, seems like the least likely choice to play a crooked cop who sides with the mob. His eyes ice up and you can see the wheels working as he measures how to play each situation. Damon delivers a coldly calculated performance that almost gives you goosebumps.

    The movie cranks up its cat-and-mouse suspense with a series of fake-outs, rub-outs and breathless near-misses that ring your chimes with cool efficiency. DiCaprio and Damon are both very intense — DiCaprio in a way that might be called very DiCaprio, Damon in a more interesting manner.

    Houston Chronicle
    Damon is a cold customer here, as smooth and opaque as frosted glass. No one sees through him.

    Patriot News
    Damon -- whose honest face makes him an ever better liar -- shows that even tough guys can be tender.

    National Post
    He certainly knows how to set up DiCaprio's deer-in-the-headlights look against the preternaturally cool Damon.

    SF Chronicle
    On the police side, we have the frustrating but arresting spectacle of watching young Sullivan con everyone with his eager-beaver demeanor and aggressive charm. He picks up a police psychiatrist (Vera Farmiga), and even when she moves in with him, she can't quite see past his former-altar-boy facade. DiCaprio and Damon have never been better.

    American Heritage
    There have been scores of movies about police moles planted in crime organizations and at least a few about gangster connections within police departments, but The Departed juxtaposes the two and places two good actors in the roles, Leonardo DiCaprio as the cop mole and Matt Damon as the gangster mole. Both are superb; DiCaprio gives his most mature performance yet and even holds his own in several one-on-one scenes with a powerhouse Jack Nicholson as the Irish crime boss Frank Costello. Damon, more subdued and more at home with a working-class Boston Irish accent, seems like DiCaprio’s mirror opposite. (Their physical resemblance when they finally meet adds a layer of tension to the film.)

    Stanford Daily
    Matt Damon’s role is a picture-perfect rendition of the term “type-cast.” Colin Sullivan is the Irish Jason Bourne, and it works flawlessly. Damon is good at what he does, and there would have been no reason to change it here. The biggest chunk of Damon’s character development comes at you rapid-fire in the last 20 minutes of the film, and you don’t really appreciate it until you’re walking out of the theater. But when it does, you really realize in retrospect what he brought to the film.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Damon and DiCaprio, in terrific performances, display a bravado, maturity and presence that help transcend their baby faces.

    Worcester Telegram and Gazette
    Damon’s clean-cut good looks are especially effective when he’s cast against type, as he is here. His character knows how to use that to his advantage, becoming so trusted that there’s no telling what can stop him.

    Herald Tribune
    Damon deftly becomes a Scorsese novelty -- a thoroughly bad guy who's so lovable, you keep looking for the good inside him.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Talk about high praise!

    Hey Felicity!

    Here's a voice from the past to let you know that Damon is indeed every bit as good as the raves he's getting for this role. The film was a taut examination of the ways the soul can twist itself to accept just about anything and both Matt and Leo are really exceptional. I'll probably go see it again before the week is out.

    And I had to laugh during a tense scene between Wahlberg and Damon, in which the characters are letting their hate for each other build into a fury of obscenity and put-downs until it pours over into a full-on brawl. You just *know* they were both feeling it.

    ~Natasha (now in Seattle!)
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: October 8th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Talk about high praise!

    Hi Natasha - have been wondering how you were going.

    Good to hear you liked the film.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)


    Just to thank you Felicity for collating all the quotes from the reviews - what an amazing job you do. It's great that Matt is receiving these amazing accolades and I'm looking forward to seeing the film this afternoon. Jan
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2006 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
    Just to say, saw the film last night. I thought it was fantastic Matt was excellent in it - he did a great job playing the 'bad guy'! Excellent film.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

    The Departed

    Just saw the movie and WOW!!!!! What a great film. Everyone has to see it, but don't take kids. This is not at film for kids. But it was so unbelievably good. All the acting was great. Matt was prefect. Definetly one of the best films of the year. They showed a trailer for "The Good Shepard" during the previews and that looks good too. I can't wait to see that.
    11 comments or Leave a comment