Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Departed

(Written in 2006)
This Scorsese revision of the 2002 Hong Kong classic ‘Infernal Affairs’ tells the story of two moles, one an undercover police officer(Dicaprio) who worked his way into the Irish Mafia. The other(Damon) a disciple of notorious crime boss Frank Costello(Nicholson)who has worked his way up the ranks of the Boston Police Department. However things heat up when both sides learn that there is a mole in their group. Now both moles have been assigned to sniff out the other. A task that will inevitably lead to a series of violent, blood shedding events.

Remakes in Hollywood have become anything but a rare circumstance. It seems that every other film to come out of the giant movie making machine that is Hollywood has been done before. We have seen remakes of classic Hollywood films, remakes of not-so-classic Hollywood films. Remakes of European films, french films, and especially of recent Japanese films. We have even seen remakes of remakes. Hollywood loves their remakes.

However, every once in a while among the giant cesspool of Hollywood re-tellings. We see a true master piece. A movie, that even though its been done before, harvests enough raw talent, and visionary film making that is stands up on its own with out needing the original to be its crutch.

The Departed is one of those.

Martin Scorsese is easily one of Hollywood, nay, the worlds greatest film makers. So when it was rumored that he would be remaking a film like Infernal Affairs. There was very little to be disconcerted with. It was thought that if anyone would be able to remake such a universally loved film, he would be that man. And the man he indeed is. The Departed has it all great cinematography, wonderful music, a great pace, and of course a top notch cast, which leads to some outstanding acting. Everyone from Jack Nicholson to Anthony Anderson is at the top of their game. It almost appears that the role of Frank Costello was tailor made for Nicholson, he is absolutely wonderful, and in my humble opinion, Oscar bound. Martin Sheen is also great as the incredibly likable Oliver Queenan. Alec Baldwin is the very entertaining Ellerby, who shares the bulk of the films comic relief with MarkWahlberg’s show stealing performance as Dinam. But as good as the supporting cast is, it comes down to weather our two main men, Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon can carry this film. Can they? Oh they can! Both actors truly shine. Leonardo Dicaprio has worked with Scorsese a few times, but this is indeed his finest moment! Same can be said for Matt Damon.

The films itself works off a lot of the key moments in Infernal Affairs. There are many moments in The Departed that fans of the original will easily pick up. Basically its build of a number of key moments strung together with Scorsese’s own touches. Each scene is recreated, but with his touch. What does that mean?? Well, more violence, more sex, and more language. Lets use the arm-cast as an example. In Infernal Affairs we see Eric Tsang pick up and smash Tony Leungs broken arm against a table, shattering his cast. In the Departed, Nicholson does indeed smash Dicaprios arm against a table, but in this case it takes a few swifts slams before the cast breaks. Then to add to the torture, he proceeds to beat his arm with his own shoe. The Departed does tell the story almost the same, but it does fill in a lot more detail to the story then the original. Also without giving anything away, it is apparent this will not be a trilogy. They were able to add enough meat to the story that there is no need.

Is The Departed better then Infernal Affairs? No. Is Infernal Affairs better then The Departed. Not really. Infernal Affairs is about as good as it gets when it comes to Hong Kong crime thrillers. And the Departed, well its about as good as it gets with American crime thrillers. Maybe it’s the story, maybe it’s the directors, or each films stellar casts. Whatever it is, it works extremely well, both times.


A Film By: martin Scorsese

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