32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
At long last a great movie by Scorese again. After a disappointing Aviator and an impressive but somehow soulless Gangs of New York, this one is entirely satisfactory.
A highly suspenseful cops and gangsters story with the main driver provided by the mutual spy set-up, i.e. both sides having their undercover agents in the opposite camp.
Leo D. and Matt Damon are perfect in their parts as "rats". Of course they represent different species of the rodent. Leo is the good rat, who hides among the baddies and has to pretend to be one of them. You suffer with him and are near a nervous breakdown, just as he. Damon is the smooth and admirable bad rat who seems to his environment like a good solid bloke, but the viewer knows better. Well, also Wahlberg's character does not like him, but he likes no one. This is the Hitchcockian technique of letting the audience know more, which increases suspense dramatically. Imagine the same story, but you don't know who is the bad rat. That would be much less interesting.
Nicholson as the evil gangster boss is possibly slightly overdone, but very well so. A good cast in the cop team includes Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, the latter being mainly remarkable for his foul mouth and his crucial role in the story's conclusion.
The movie is a remake of an excellent Hongkong movie of a few years ago. Scorsese's version is quite different, but neither better nor worse. Most Hongkong reviewers seem to have decided not to like the new version. Up to them.