The Departed” and Its Theories

Topics: Causality, The Departed, Conspiracy theory Pages: 5 (1705 words) Published: November 16, 2008
“The Departed” and its theories

The movies describes a major theme of “The Departed” as one of the oldest in drama—the concept of identity—and how it "affects one's actions, emotions, self-assurance, and even dreams.” Many years later, an older Sullivan, now in his mid twenties, (Matt Damon) is finishing his training for the Massachusetts State Police with classmates, including fellow cadet Barrigan (James Badge Dale). In another class are Cadet Brown (Anthony Anderson) and Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio). All four men graduate to become state troopers. Sullivan is a sergeant, and has just passed the state trooper detective test. He goes in to meet with the calm and collected Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen), and the aggressive and cynical Staff Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) of the Special Investigations Unit. When Sullivan exits, Costigan goes in. The undercover division of the Special Investigations Unit wants to assign Costigan, whose family has long had ties with the Boston underworld, to infiltrate Costello's crew. For his service, he gets a "bonus", tax-free payment upon completion of his assignment. To make his assignment believable to everyone, especially Costello, they create a false conviction on Costigan for assault. He will get a four month jail sentence and afterwards probation with mandatory sessions with a psychiatrist. His police academy record and file are concealed from the public, and even the department itself, and the only ones who can access Costigan's file are Queenan and Dignam. The main characters in this movie have a father-son relationship is a motif throughout the film. Costello (Nicholson) acts as a father figure to both Sullivan (Damon) and Costigan (DiCaprio) and Queenan (Sheen) acts as Costello's foil in the role of father-figure presenting both sides of the Irish-American father archetype. Social identity is a theory formed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner to understand the psychological basis of intergroup discrimination. It is composed of three elements: •Categorization: We often put others (and ourselves) into categories. Labeling someone as a Muslim, a Turk, or soccer player are ways of saying other things about these people. •Identification: We also associate with certain groups (our in-groups), which serves to bolster our self-esteem. •Comparison: We compare our groups with other groups, seeing a favorable bias toward the group to which we belong. Sullivan, a working-class Irish-Catholic who desires to rise in the department, even as a mole, and moves into upper-class apartments and considers leaving the state, and Costigan, who comes from an upper-class section of Boston and pretends to be a criminal for the state police. Costigan is out of jail and uses his drug-dealing cousin as a back-handed way of attracting Costello's attention and fights a man in a bar. He then becomes a member of his crew, pairing up with his right-hand man Mr. French (Ray Winstone). Costello tells Costigan that he knew, and respected his father and Uncle Jackie, the latter of whom was a bookie and associate of Costello, the former of which worked a the airport and didn't want to be involved in the underworld. It is therefore these two family connections which really motivate Costello more than anything else to try to assist Costigan in his own questionable way. Meanwhile, Sullivan begins a romantic relationship with criminal psychiatrist Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), who also happens to be the assigned psychotherapist for Costigan as a part of his probation for the fabricated assault conviction. Although she wants to keep their relationship professional, a romance develops, but Costigan and Sullivan remain oblivious to each other's identity. Attribution theory is a social psychology theory developed by Fritz Heider, Harold Kelley, Edward E. Jones, and Lee Ross. The theory is concerned with the ways in which people explain (or attribute) the behavior of others, or themselves (self-attribution), with...
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