4k Movie, Streaming, Blu-Ray Disc, and Home Theater Product Reviews & News | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Sale Price: $ Last Price: $ Buy now! 3rd Party In Stock
Release Date: April 23rd, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2006

The Departed - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook

Overview -

4K Ultra-HD review by David Krauss
The Best Picture Oscar winner that also earned Martin Scorsese a Best Director Oscar comes to 4K UHD in sleek steelbook packaging. The Departed masterfully chronicles both the undercover infiltration of the mob by a Boston police officer and the efforts of a dirty cop to sabotage the investigation. A terrific HDR video transfer, robust audio, and a solid supplemental package make this a mandatory upgrade. Highly Recommended.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English SDH, Spanish
Special Features:
‘Guilt and Betrayal: Looking Into The Departed’, ‘Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed’, ‘Crossing Criminal Cultures’, 9 Additional Scenes with introductions by Martin Scorsese
Release Date:
April 23rd, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Martin Scorsese fans are used to waiting. We had to wait what felt like an eternity for the esteemed director to win a long, long overdue Oscar and we've had to wait almost as long for the movie that garnered him that elusive award to be released on 4K UHD. Ultra High-Def has been around for eight years, but Warner Home Video took its sweet time releasing the 2006 Best Picture Oscar winner and Scorsese's most commercially successful film in the format. I'll be the first to admit The Departed is far from Scorsese's greatest picture, but I cheered loud and long on Oscar night 17 years ago when he accepted that statuette and I applaud the movie's UHD release today. The Departed may not quite reach the artistic heights of Scorsese's other mob movies, but it's a riveting rollercoaster ride packed with plot twists, suspense, searing performances, raw humor, and possibly more dead bodies than any other Scorsese enterprise. Marty hasn't made many popcorn movies, but this one merits an extra-large bucket.

My former HDD colleague Peter Bracke shared his thoughts on The Departed upon its Blu-ray release back in 2007, a few weeks before the Oscars were handed out. Like any piece of good writing, his review is just as fresh and true today as it was then. My thoughts echo his completely, so I'll let Peter take it from here:

"There is something called the "one for them, one for me" approach shared by several of Hollywood's top directors - the gambit by which an A-list filmmaker remains viable in the marketplace by making one "art house" flick to indulge their own artistic whims (and often win awards), followed by a more commercial blockbuster to keep their agents and accountants happy. The examples range from Steven Spielberg (Schindler's List begat The Lost World) to Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima in the same year) to Stanley Kubrick (Barry Lyndon flops, bring on The Shining). Thankfully, some of the best directors simply cop to it - just ask Steven Soderbergh and everyone's favorite perennial Oscar loser, Martin Scorsese.

The Departed was supposed to be one of the mob movie auteur's "one for them" flicks. Which is fine enough -for every Cape Fear or Bringing Out the Dead, he's given us a GoodFellas or a Casino. And following the commercially successful if somewhat stillborn The Aviator, The Departed was intended as nothing more than a lean, mean, crowd-pleasing mob movie, the kind Scorsese can direct in his sleep. Still, even "mainstream" Scorsese is better than 90 percent of the crap made by other filmmakers, and The Departed turned out be the best of both worlds. Far and away Scorsese's biggest box office hit, it also earned excellent critical notices and, as of this writing, dear old Marty seems at last poised to take home that Best Director statuette at this year's Oscar ceremony.

The film's story, a somewhat faithful remake of the Chinese hit Infernal Affairs, is certainly pulp fiction. It's South Boston, and the state police force is waging war on Irish-American organized crime. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the young, idealistic undercover cop Billy Costigan, who has been assigned to infiltrate a syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). But in only one of the film's many parallels, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal, has simultaneously infiltrated the police department as an informer for the same syndicate. Both will rise to power and become consumed by their double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of their competing operations. It all comes cascading down fantastically when both the mob and the police realize that there is a mole in their midst - but is it Billy, or Colin? Each are now both in danger of being exposed, and must race to uncover the identity of the other in order to save themselves - regardless of now many friends and comrades they have to take down in the process.

The core theme of The Departed will be familiar to even those with only a passing awareness of Scorsese's past work. "When I was your age, they would say we could become cops or criminals," Costello pontificates at one point. "But what I'm saying to you is this: when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?" It is a world view that Scorsese has been exploring ever since Mean Streets, but what's fresh for the director about The Departed is that the moral quagmires are expressed through the conventions of a genre piece. Yet he does not sacrifice his artistry. The "who's the mole?" concept, despite the film's rather long 154-minute runtime, is so foolproof that even in lesser hands The Departed would have a gangbusters genre piece. But lending credence to all the "Scorsese is brilliant!" plaudits is that his level of craftsmanship has risen so high that he is able to bring a tremendous level of visual and thematic complexity to the material, without sacrificing its mainstream appeal. Like the best of Spielberg, Soderbergh and Orson Welles, he has elevated a commercial film to the level of art, instead of dumbing down art for the sake of commerce.

Even if Scorsese wasn't firing on all cylinders, The Departed might have coasted by just on its star wattage alone. DiCaprio, Damon, Wahlberg, Nicholson - it's a dream cast. And a boys club, to be sure, much to the exclusion of everyone else on the screen (even a fine actress like Vera Farmiga fails to register, although to be fair, hers is an utterly thankless role). DiCaprio delivers what I thought was his greatest work since What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, while Wahlberg easily tops any performance he's ever given - even Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. For me, the only weak link is actually Nicholson. Though he has the required gravitas for such a world-weary character, he resorts to his usual "Just Jack" shtick. His hammy Boston accent also goes in and out as the wind blows. Still, Nicholson in full-tilt scenery-chewing mode is always a hoot, especially in one now-infamous scene involving a couple of prostitutes.

If The Departed ultimately doesn't measure up to the absolute best works in the Scorsese canon, it may stem back to the fact that the film, however expertly mounted, is still a commercial detour for the director. As with Cape Fear, it is an exceptional genre piece - one that succeeds so well simply because Scorsese is incapable of making a soulless movie. In other words, it may just be art by accident. But when the results are this entertaining, who cares?"
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray
The Departed arrives on 4K UHD in attractive steelbook packaging. (Standard packaging is also available.) A leaflet containing the code to access the Movies Anywhere digital copy is tucked inside the front cover. Video codec is 2160p/HEVC H.265 with HDR and audio is DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

Video Review


According to the Warner Bros press release, "The 4K remaster of The Departed was completed at Warner Bros Discovery's Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) with the participation of the film's Academy Award-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker." That's good news, but with so much outcry surrounding the recent 4K remasters of a trio of James Cameron movies, fans of The Departed might have justified concerns about the film's new look. Well, Scorsese aficionados, worry no more. The Departed, which looked damn good on Blu-ray, looks - to use a G-rated version of a favorite R-rated Scorsese adjective - freakin' great on 4K UHD. The 2160p/HEVC H.265 transfer with HDR isn't perfect - a couple of soft shots that are baked into the negative still grab attention - but it elevates The Departed to a whole new level without compromising its film-like appearance. And speaking of elevation, the bitrate on this 4K UHD disc is on average two-and-a-half times greater than its 1080p predecessor. (Occasionally, that number climbs to five times.)

Grain is still evident and it fluctuates in intensity throughout, but even in the transfer's most satiny moments, there's still a faint smattering of texture that maintains the feel of film. Clarity, contrast, and vibrancy are exceptional and a huge step up from the 2007 Blu-ray. The picture flaunts far more presence and greater depth, immersing us in the dingy bars, dilapidated warehouses, and cramped office space that dominate the film. Colors truly pop. The pale blue of the police uniforms, the red light that bathes Nicholson and his "girlfriends," and various pastels make bold statements, while lush blacks and crisp whites nicely offset them. Razor-sharp close-ups showcase facial stubble, freckles, small moles, pores, and even the fine hairs on Damon's neck. Shadow delineation is quite good - since the de-aging process had not yet been invented, Scorsese was forced to use the old-school method of shooting Nicholson in shadow during the opening scene when he's a younger man - and the freshly minted source is pristine.

A couple of shots look a tad overly processed, flesh tones err toward the orange side, and teeth occasionally appear overly white, but those are minor quibbles. The improvements far outweigh any of these hiccups, making this update an essential upgrade for those who revere this Oscar-winning film.

Audio Review


The Departed has had a plethora of audio formats over the course of its home video history, from Dolby TrueHD to uncompressed PCM. Now it's time for DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Those hoping for a Dolby Atmos track will be disappointed, but the truth is the soundscape of The Departed doesn't really lend itself to an Atmos treatment. Largely front-based, the audio focuses more on dialogue than effects, and without any significant car chases, aerial pursuits, explosions, or crowd scenes, there's not much opportunity for surround sound, let alone Atmos.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track does have some rear bleeds with a fire effect and bits of scoring, but you really need to prick up your ears to notice them. Stereo separation across the front channels is more common and the overall sound quality is crisp and contoured, which allows us to remain fixated on the story. Dialogue is well prioritized, so we never miss a word of William Monahan's Oscar-winning screenplay, while a wide dynamic scale manages the highs and lows of Howard Shore's music score and the various pop tunes Scorsese employs with ease. Bass frequencies are strong and sonic accents like gunshots, sirens, fisticuffs, shattering glass, and the sharp blare of bagpipes are distinct. This is a fairly unobtrusive track, but it flexes its muscles when necessary.

Special Features


All the extras from the 2007 Blu-ray - except for the trailer - have been ported over to this 4K UHD release. Warner Home Video also adds a brand new featurette to sweeten the deal.

  • NEW Featurette: "Guilt and Betrayal: Looking Into The Departed" (UHD, 15 minutes) - In this new featurette, director Martin Scorsese recalls how he became involved in the project, how he approached the story, and how two classic Warner Bros gangster pictures deeply influenced his perspective. He also discusses his attraction to closed, tightly knit societies, analyzes the characters, and reveals he believed The Departed would be his swan song at the time. Production stills and on-set footage enhance this absorbing interview with a master craftsman.

  • Featurette: "Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie and The Departed" (SD, 21 minutes) - Former HDD reviewer Peter Bracke praised this piece with these remarks back in 2007: "Screenwriter William Monahan based much of his script not only on the original Chinese film Infernal Affairs but also on the real-life gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, whose reign of terror over Boston lasted for three decades up until his incarceration in the early '90s. This is a fascinating doc, including interviews with everyone from cast and crew (including Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg) to various cops and journalists who profiled the case to Bulger's own priest. I love background like this, because it only enhances our appreciation for the film and its characters. This one is well worth a watch."

  • Featurette: "Crossing Criminal Cultures" (SD, 24 minutes) - Bracke also recommends this featurette. "Culled from the same interviews used in the above piece, [this one] examines The Departed in terms of Scorsese's other 'mob movies,' including GoodFellasMean Streets, and Casino. Parallels are drawn between the films that speak to the director's love for the genre, his penchant for classic film noir, and use of recurring themes, mainly that of the rise and fall of a corruptible character in search of the American Dream. Though again hardly focused on the making of The Departed, "Crossing Criminal Cultures" is still involving throughout."

  • Deleted Scenes with introductions by Martin Scorsese (SD, 19 minutes) - Scorsese provides lengthy introductions to nine very compelling deleted and extended scenes and puts an interesting spin on why he decided to include them on the disc.

With so many classics in Martin Scorsese's film canon, it's easy to forget about The Departed, but this fantastic 4K UHD upgrade reminds us why this engrossing tale of mob tyranny and police corruption captivated the public and won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay. A dazzling HDR transfer, solid audio, a great new interview with Scorsese, and attractive steelbook packaging make this release a must for fans and cinephiles alike. Highly Recommended

Order Your Copy of The Departed 4K UHD Blu-ray SteelBook 


Also Available: