What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" (Warner Books) by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com.

The Departed (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Before tonight, when I thought of Leonardo DiCaprio, I saw a boy. No more. He makes his bones as a man in this film, directed by Martin Scorsese, inspired by the 2002 Hong Kong thriller, “Infernal Affairs.” In fact, despite the presence of the icon, Jack Nicholson, this is so much DiCaprio’s movie that Oscar should beckon.

He plays Billy Costigan, a cop who goes undercover in Frank Costello’s (Nicholson) gang. Only two people know that Billy is a cop, Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Queenan’s in-your-face assistant, Sargeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg, in another Oscar-deserving performance). Billy’s duplicitous counterpart in the police is Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon, who is well cast in a role that requires the range of an amoeba), a well-respected cop who is a stooge for Costello.

Even though the running time is well over two hours, the script by William Monahan is surprisingly taut, picturing a relatively corrupt state of affairs in Boston law enforcement. I say surprisingly because Monahan’s last effort was the laughable “Kingdom of Heaven,” (2005). Monahan’s script was a major contributor to director Ridley Scott’s bomb.

In addition to living their tense double lives, both Billy and Colin are enamored of Madolyn (Vera Farmiga), a psychiatrist who has Billy as a patient and Colin as a lover. Hot-tempered Billy is a sympathetic character to Madolyn, a person who has lost his parents and is basically alone in the world. Of course, Madolyn is unaware that he has exacerbated his loneliness by going undercover. Even so, Madolyn finds his passion appealing, despite his appearance to her as a derelict ex-con and her commitment to Colin, who appears to have it all, an up-and-coming career and security.

Rounding out the competent cast are Ray Winstone, who plays Costello’s lieutenant, Mr. French, and Alec Baldwin, playing Capt. Ellerbee, the chief of the Special Investigation Unit.

Although this isn’t noir, it’s filmed as noir. Even though it’s in color the entire film was lit, by Scorsese’s favorite Director of Photography Michael Ballhaus, as if it were black-and-white.

Costume designer Sandy Powell dressed everybody but Nicholson in neutral tones. Nicholson is dressed in flamboyant ways. Production designer Kristi Zea says, “We intentionally made the costumes and the sets fairly monochromatic, but (we) collectively made the decision that whenever we used red, there was a reason…It’s intended as a subliminal message that something of a dangerous nature is about to happen, with blood being the obvious correlation.”

Scorsese also used the letter X as an homage to the 1932 Howard Hughes film “Scarface.” They claim that they use it throughout the film, but it is certainly subtle, because I was looking for it and didn’t notice it that much. I did notice the use of the color red, but that might be because this is a graphically violent film and a lot of blood flows.

Despite the graphic violence and lots of scurrilous language, this is a tense, highly entertaining film that held my interest up through the slam-bang ending. Nicholson, as usual, overacts to great effect. But the star is Leo who emerges from this film as a complete actor and a full-fledged star. He gets a big assist from Wahlberg, who is captivating in the few minutes he has on screen.

October 5, 2006