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The Departed (2006) | The Definitive Explanation

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  1. I’m sure I’m not the first to point this out, but Sullivan is living with, and perhaps dies with, another secret.

    He’s gay.

    After the rugby match, he goes on and on about how their opponents, firefighters, are “queer.” The film cuts to another scene, and when it returns to Sullivan, he’s on a park bench with Barrigan, where he again calls the firefighters “a buncha queers.”

    He makes a show of looking at female co-workers’ asses. He has a scene with the shrink where he can’t get it up. In a scene with Ellerby at a driving range, Ellerby asks him if he’s dating anyone, commenting that it’s good to be married so people won’t think he’s queer. It makes people know, he says, that Sullivan’s equipment is working. Sullivan proudly insists his equipment is working, but we know that’s not entirely true.

    Sullivan guards this secret with the same intensity— if not more—than his secret criminal persona. I think, though, that Costello knows, and he teases him about it by insisting on meeting at a gay porno house, where he dons a dildo as a weird prank. Personally, I think Sullivan was molested by a priest, but I have no real evidence other than Costello’s disdain for the church.

    When Costello reveals to Sullivan that he’s an FBI informant, Sullivan asks, “Do they know about me?” Which has a double meaning. Finally, once Costigan figures out that Sullivan is the mole, they meet on the rooftop. Rightfully furious, Costigan threatens him and angrily calls him a fa**ot. His cover is blown.

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