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The Departed Conventions

Decent Essays
Throughout the film ‘The Departed’ directed by Martin Scorsese, conventions are often used to portray ideas about identity, through Links to Family History, Trust and Betrayal, Character Reversals and Stereotypical Representations. The film shows the story of two ‘rats’, Colin Sullivan who works for the SIU but is working undercover for Frank Costello who is an organized crime boss, while Billy Costigan is a complete character reversal, by working with Frank Costello as an undercover investigator, for the SIU. Scorsese uses conventions of crime drama as
One of the main conventions in the film is family history. From the beginning, Colin is instantly respected by Costello because he comes from a good family “You Johnny Sullivan’s kid?... You
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A common term used in the SIU and Costello’s gang, is “Rat”. This term is referring to someone betraying them, and someone who can’t be trusted “I can smell a rat, and I hate f***ing rats”. Trust is a very important component for both parties to be successful in their work. Although the SIU base their investigations on inside detectives, this forced change in identity causes Billy great problems. We see Billy as someone who is honest and compassionate despite his upbringing, although he is forced to change into someone who is violent, corrupt and a criminal. This causes him major grief, resulting in him going to a counsellor and requesting medication, to help him get out of his state of anxiety, “I’m having panic attacks, the other night I thought I was having a heart attack. I puked in a rash barrel on my way over here. I haven’t slept for f***ing weeks”. While Colin reacts to the different identities with more of a care free attitude (Quote). Betrayal is used to get an insight to how characters react to an issue, such as when Billy fells as if he is going to get caught for betraying Costello, as he is working for the SUI. Billy reacts with panic and stress when things become serious when trying to prosecute the infamous crime boss, as he doesn’t believe he is doing the right thing. While Colin reacts in a calmer manner when facing challenges such as, when he is needed to inform Costello of an…show more content…
For example, Frank is seen as a tough, violent, ruthless, sex and drug obsessed crime boss who will commit any crime with no remorse or thought of any consequences, he explains this in his phrase “A man makes his own way. No one gives it to you. You have to take it”. Costello and his gang, are also Stereotyped through their appearances. As they wear dark glasses, baggie coats, nicely dressed and groomed with slick backed hair, very similar to the mafia. They are also very well-known which we gather when Costello first confronts Billy in the bar and the women sitting close to them suddenly stop talking as his presents arrives. We see Stereotypes in the SIU, within Dignam and Queenan. Dignam is young and aggressive, say it how it is type person, while Queenan is older, more experienced and takes more of an understanding approach to his work, we see this when Queenan says “congratulations on passing the detectives exam, and welcome to the Special Investigations Unit”, when Dignam instantly replies “Whoop-de-f***ing-do”. This complete difference in personality, gives the ‘Good cop, bad cop’ effect, enabling them to get their job done efficiently.
Throughout the film, the idea of identity is expressed through crime drama conventions, such as Family History, Trust and Betrayal,
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