Deception, betrayal, and bad accents in downtown Boston.

October 30, 2006

The Departed (


Two days ago, I finally got a chance to see the new heavily lauded Scorsese film, The Departed. A remake of the Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs, a flick that I have enjoyed before, I was eager to see how Scorsese could throw his own flavor to the mix. With all of the hype and the super positive critic reviews, I was really excited to find the time to finally see it. Did all the hype hold up?

Sure – Scorsese knows his territory when it comes to portraying crime and the gritty underworld of the mob. His past work (Goodfellas, aka one of the best movies ever) shows this and The Departed follows suit. The movie is gripping and interesting as well as funny. Scorsese doesn’t hold back on the violence in portraying the work of the mob, and the shocking violence engages the viewer just like the rest of the film. The dialogue and acting are top notch with the all-star stacked cast. Nicholson acts as god, and all other actors touch greatness as well. Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon are excellent leads, and the supporting actors only add to the flick (Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin – hilarious). Though the Boston accents were a bit heavy-handed and in-and-out at times, the funny speech did not ever significantly detract from the film. Just to set it straight – not everyone in Boston sounds like that…

As much as I liked The Departed, the flick was a bit overhyped for me I think. Almost every review I have encountered has been positive (check out metacritic/rottentomatoes) and I was psyched to see the best movie of the year. In the end, I found the movie to be highly entertaining and stylistic, but the narrative element fell short – probably because I had already seen Infernal Affairs. The storyline wasn’t as fresh or original to me, and I was expecting things to happen before they did. It was fun to do comparisons between the remake and the Hong Kong original, but I felt that my knowing the basic plot made the movie a little less special for me than I would’ve liked.

The flick all in all met my expectations wholly. Scorsese’s fast editing was both engaging and kind of confusing, but my familiarity with the basic story overcame any confusion. While it’s hard to say whether or not this film is better or worse than its asian predecessor, it’s definitely true that each film has its ups and downs. I think each movie works well in its own cultural environment, one discussing the Irish mob while the other, the Chinese Triads. In that aspect, Scorsese’s The Departed becomes more of a variation of a theme rather than a complete remake. Scorsese’s changes work well and fit the new Boston setting; the film captures your attention and doesn’t let you go till the end.

3.5 – 4 undercover agents out of 5

Spoilers ahead- Comparisons between The Departed and Infernal Affairs and other stuff

  • The ending of The Departed was really different from Infernal Affairs, I’m not so sure how much I liked that new addition
  • The Departed significantly limited the police chief’s role in the film, as well as the repeated rooftop meetings
  • If anyone has seen both John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” and “Infernal Affairs” – do you get the sense that there is a connection with the whole undercover cop/rooftop thing? Did Infernal Affairs get these ideas from the John Woo’s most famous operatic blood ballad?
  • The Departed enhances the role of the female character (changing Infernal Affair’s two minor females into one major role in The Departed) in the film. This was cool, but also feels like a very Hollywoodesque change.
  • The two gang members trying to spot a cop was a nice carryover.
  • The silent phonecall scene was a nice carryover as well.
  • The addition of Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg was awesome.

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