Was Colin Gay? | The Departed Explained

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5m Apr 23, 2021

Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller The Departed gave the veteran film director his first and as of yet only Oscar win. The movie follows Leonardo DiCaprio’s Billy and Matt Damon’s Colin as they look to navigate their way through life avoiding detection and exposure as undercover agents, Billy an undercover cop in Jack Nicolson’s Irish gang, and Colin an officer in the Boston police force, secretly working for Nicolson’s Frank Costello.

Both moles lead stressful lives, given the sheer amount of danger they’re constantly in, and both end up seeing the same physiatrist, romantically speaking. Colin actually settle down with her and they have a successful relationship, that is of course, until she finds out all about his actual job.

Now, Scorsese’s film is a very detailed picture, one where there are many things going on in the background that only become apparent upon multiple viewings of the film. For example, similar to how the appearance of an orange marks the death or near miss of a character in The Godfather, characters are marked for death in The Departed through use of Xs in the background. Another example would that, eventually towards the end of the film it is revealed that mob boss Frank Costello was most likely impotent, and this is foreshadowed in a scene where his wife is readying a book on how to get pregnant.

One such details that some fans of the movie have speculated on is the sexual orientation of Colin Sullivan. That’s right, in and amongst the shootouts, the betrayals, the lies and deception, an all important question has arisen – was Colin gay?

This is actually quite a popular fan theory, and one of the most discussed aspects of the movie, another being whether the gangster Delahunt was actually an undercover cop, something which I’ve already made a video on.

Despite being married to Vera Farmiga, many do believe that Colin was in the closet. So let’s take a look at this claim, and see if we can come to an answer.

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Table of Contents

Timecode Title
0:00 (Introduction)
2:01 (Evidence for Colin's homosexuality)
6:07 (My thoughts)
9:30 (Masculinity & impotency - an analysis)

About CineRanter

CineRanter - A couch potato's insignificant rage on modern film. I review movies, discuss film theories and explanations, and other cinema-related stuff. Sometimes I branch out to other mediums like books and comics.


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