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Now I know that 'The Departed' is based off of the Hong Kong movie 'WuJianDao', but Scorsese really grabs hold of a great story and brings it to the American Screen. My father grew up in Boston and when we walked out of the theater he couldn't stop talking about how authentic the environment and attitude was. Then there's the acting in which the lead actors (Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon) not only give stunningly entertaining performances, but you become engulfed in each one's perspective and dilemmas. The smaller roles that of (Baldwin, Walberg, Sheen) are supporting roles that remind me of Jesus Quintana from 'The Big Lebowski', by this I mean that their screen time is limited but they make lasting impressions that you cherish each and every scene they are in, Alec Baldwin especially. The story itself starts off with the basic intro of the players and the setting, but you'll find yourself slowing following each and every plot twist and rooting back and forth for the good guys and for the bad guys. If you're a Scorsese fan, which I am, I think you will appreciate this film. You can clearly see the Scorsese touch ranging from the cinematography and of course the music, it's great to hear "Gimme Shelter" again, but "Comfortably Numb" played in so well. It's another gangster flick from Scorsese, yet this one stands alone because feels so fresh and most would agree Scorsese does gangster films the best; so why not let him. Oscar worthy, the acting I certainly hope; this is DiCaprio's best role since 'The Aviator' which was his best role since 'Gangs of New York', am I seeing a pattern here. But my lasting impression wasn't concerned with the politics of the golden statue; my lasting impression was that I had sat through 2 and half hours of brilliant and especially entertaining storytelling. Thank you Mr. Scorsese.
Please don't make negative comments like some of the aforementioned
people have been doing if you haven't seen the film yet! I have seen
it, at a press screening last week. Not only is it the best film of the
year so far, it marks a return to form for Martin Scorsese, and ranks
with the likes of GOODFELLAS as being one of the best in his canon of
I'm a fan of the Hong Kong film, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, upon which this is based. While THE DEPARTED keeps the basic structure of the original, it is very much its own movie, so much so that the screenwriter, William Monahan, didn't even watch the original film while adapting its screenplay, thus enabling him to infuse the script with his, and Scorsese's, respective visions.
All the actors are first-rate (yes, even Leo, for all you DiCaprio bashers out there), and turn in some of their best performances to date. THE DEPARTED is sure to garner a host of Oscar nods, if not wins, including (hopefully) Scorsese's long-overdue statuette for Best Director. Plus, with actors like Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin playing supporting roles, that says a lot about the quality of the film they signed up for! THE DEPARTED is tough stuff, not for the faint-of-heart. That said, it is a must-see for adult viewers who long for intelligent, gritty stories to grace our movie screens once again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ever since I have seen Infernal Affairs (IA), I said to myself that
Hollywood would not pass up on a story like this. And true enough, I
heard Brad Pitt bought the rights to the show and that he and Tom
Cruise are slated to act in it. When I heard that the whole ensemble
changed, I still was looking forward to the film. IA, with a much
smaller budget, looks more expensive than The Departed (TD).
Character development -IA, is all about heart. It is about how the mole in the police, Ming, is torn between his identity as a mole, and his conscience, and the mole in the mafia/gangland, Yan, is torn between doing right for the police and his own dilemma about his identity. Ming is not bad, nor is Yan good. TD, like all other Hollywood cop movies, is about black and white. Costigan is wholesomely good, and Sullivan is utterly bad. Their characters are so one-dimensional, it's almost like the screenwriter doesn't trust his audience to be intelligent enough to know that good and evil are degrees of grey.
Timeframe - The time frame is just ridiculous in TD. Are we expected to believe that in the short span of 4 months, Costigan is able to infiltrate the mafia and become Costello's left hand man, given that everyone (so 'cleverly' explained by Queenan) knows that he was a cop and that Costello doesn't trust people easily? Are we also to believe that Sullivan can rise through the ranks of the police force so fast, considering that (also 'cleverly' explained by Ellerby) they don't trust people with perfect records? In IA, it is a convincing many years. Both characters are allowed to grow into their environment enough to be torn. TD just throws it in our face.
Acting - How can people say that the acting is superb? Matt Damon doesn't emote at all. Leo Dicarprio is so whiny, if he isn't whining to Queenan, he is whining to the shrink, or Costello and Mr. French. Martin Sheen is like a vase, so weak and wimpy, he doesn't have the air befitting of a Captain. Mark Wahlberg's character, sarcastic as hell, for what? It's a wonder that he is even there, he has no role to play at all. An omission of his character wouldn't have made the movie any less. The shrink sleeps with both Costigan and Sullivan, and we are expected to feel sorry for her? And Jack Nicholson, so painful to watch. Even the extras are so miscast-ed. The Mainland Chinese characters are so obviously 3rd generation Cantonese speakers, with the American accents, I am not a native Cantonese speaker and even I know it's all wrong.
Screenplay - This has to be one of the worst screenplays ever.
a. Costello, if he is a big time gangland boss, and that he is dealing with international crime lords, why is he and his right hand man still going round the hood to collect protection money? The writers cannot decide if he is a big-time crime lord or a smalltime mafia boss.
b. the time-line.
c. Costigan sends the tape to Madolyn, gets Sullivan to meet him at the building Queenan died, and expects to do what? It is just a cheap shot at trying to mirror IA's intelligent rooftop scene.
d. The fact that the cast says F*** every other second makes the movie cheap and crude instead of realistic.
e. the subplots are so unnecessary and so poorly intertwined. The double crossing of the mainland Chinese, the FBI informer subplot, the letter that was never heard of again, the love triangle between moles & shrink, the time in cadet school. All these subplots should be omitted, then maybe the director can concentrate on the real story.
f. What's up with the ending? First Costigan is shot (Which is a ripped off from the original), and then everyone else gets shot in the head except Sullivan. Is there a need for all that gore? Or is it just cheap thrill? And then Dignam kills Sullivan. Does Dignam have a great enough agenda to do what he did?
g. Did I mention that a lot of scenes of the movie are ripped off from the original? Even the dialog of some of the scenes is directly translated from the original. I read that the writer claims that he didn't see the original. Is he trying to claim the great parts of the movies as his own? Isn't that plagiarism? Which brings me to
Production value - Scorsese bombed, big time. He has ran out of tricks, the movie started out good, but the ending seemed so rushed, like he has ran out of time, or interest. I love GoodFellas, and his style and techniques at that time seem fresh and ingenious. But the second time he used the pinhole effect in TD, I realize that Scorsese has ran out of ideas. There are even scenes that he took from the original shot by shot, making it seem like he cannot make his own out of the material.
Over all I am very MAD. MAD at the people who say this movie is brilliant. It is brilliant only because the original is brilliant and they had taken almost every element of it. I am MAD because of the disregard of respect on the part of Scorsese's team, not giving the credits when credits are due. Is he going to get an academy award for something that is not his? Something that he so blatantly took from someone else and did not even bother to credit? That would say a lot about Hollywood and their disregard for anyone else. I am MAD at the way the movie ended and I am just disappointed that the audiences are treated like idiots and they don't know it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Just came back from watching the movie so it's still fresh in my mind.
Overall the movie was good but it could have been shorter. Good movie
but nothing extraordinary, not a master-piece, not a classic. In this
period filled with really bad movies it's a movie you have to watch.
Some things are better than in the original (Infernal Affairs) like character development. It is especially true for DiCaprio's character (not really for other character). However the scene, when Wahlberg cites all of DiCaprio's family connection to the mob, takes too much time. They take a long time establishing how DiCaprio sells drugs with his cousin and finally get into Nicholson's gang. However after that it doesn't take long for Nicholson to give his total trust (in one year and a half to two years), which bothered me. This takes the first hour of the movie and i think it could have been cut by at least 20min.
Some scenes have a lot more impact in Infernal Affairs than in The Departed. I'm gonna cite 3 scenes which are some of the most important in the story in my opinion:
-The death of Wong/Queenan: in IA, Wong falls suddenly, lands on a taxi cab taking Yan by surprise. When Yan realizes Wong is dead you can feel the suffering Yan goes through by the loss of the only person who knows he's a cop but also/mainly by the loss of his friend.
In The Departed we see Sheen falls in slow-mo until he hits the ground in a splash of blood. There's absolutely no connection, no friendship between DiCaprio and Sheen. We see DiCaprio almost on the verge of crying. But Why ? He's not his friend and there's still Wahlberg to prove he's a cop.
-The death of Sam/Costello: In IA, Ming seems to show a desire to redeem himself and become a good man for his girlfriend. When he confronts Sam in the parking lot during the raid, he kills Sam to remove any evidence he's a mole and restart on a blank slate.
In The Departed, although Damon slightly mentions starting anew in another city, when he kills Costello he does it just to cover his a-s-s. Never after he seems like he might become good.
-The elevator and final scene: In IA, the meeting on the rooftop is between two men on each side of the law but sharing so much in common. You can even sense that Ming has some respect for Yan. There's no violence until what happens in the elevator. When Yan dies you can see Ming didn't want this to end like that. Yan's death is really emotional, all sounds are drawn off and only an opera piece is playing. When the second mole gets killed by Ming you only hear gunshots.
In The Departed The final scenes are a mess. Damon and DiCaprio just hate each other's gut, the token black guy shows up, the 2nd mole shows up and everybody executes everybody. They just stand there to get shot. The scene seems really rushed.
And when Damon open his door at the end of the movie to see Wahlberg waiting for him, it was the cherry on top of the cake. Everybody was cracking up. How many shots to the head do we need to see ? Was it really necessary to kill Damon and provide the audience with a happy ending ?
Although The Departed is a good movie I felt a lot more satisfied with Infernal Affairs. They have very different feel to them. One is over-the-top street violence while the other one is more subdued, concise and nuanced.
For those who says that The Departed is way more psychological than IA I would have to disagree. Infernal Affairs shows how two men struggle to know what defines if they're good or bad. Is it their actions or their allegiance to one side or the other of the law? In the end they're really similar. Yan tells the Psy he's a cop and lift that weight off his shoulder even if it's for just a second. Ming wants to redeem himself and prove his girlfriend but also himself that he's not that bad. Others before me have also commented on the buddhist notion of eternal hell so I won't talk about it :)
The Departed lacked in that department. There's no connection between the two main characters except for the fact they are moles. They're almost portrayed as black and white. Especially Damon who doesn't seem to have any nuance. He's just bad till the end.
The Departed 8/10 Infernal Affairs 9/10
Excellent. A great, great movie. I saw it last night at a special screening and must say it was a tour de force. Even though Boston is not really a gritty town Scorsese was able to capture a darker side of the city. Coming from that area, I am always concerned when actors put on the local accent as it tends to be distracting rather than supportive. However, with local pros like Damon and Wahlberg they were able to really grab hold of it and not go overboard... most of the time. The true stand out performance has to go to DiCaprio. He has really come into his since hooking up with Scorsese, having scored a number of original performances all of which have expanded his range. He really snagged onto a deep and tragic character and created something that will hopefully be recognized come awards season. One of my favorite aspects was the friendly hostility the characters had for each other. It is a specific trademark that I have never noticed in any other city. In Boston, when you are really close with someone (or not really) it is, more or less, a requirement to bust their balls and shoot cruel insults back and forth in rhythmic banter. That detail was extensively realized in THE DEPARTED and I doubt anybody who was raised outside of the metro Boston area, or at least visited at some point, would find it nearly as hilarious as those who were. As for Scorsese's direction, I think he scored big with this one. While many have criticized that his movies have become more commercial I believe that he has just evolved. There were some classic Scorsese moments here, my favorite being a scene where DiCaprio is alone and packing his things in his apartment. Beautifully cut and stylistically directed. Is it his best effort? No. But it still is truly mesmerizing. He has created something truly special from a city that is highly underrated.
The screenplay: Top Notch
The performances: all-star cast delivering all-star performances
The music: perfect
The Directing: Martin Scorsese at his finest and that is saying something.
Once again Scorsese delivers a film that meets or exceeds the expectations of its audience in nearly every way. There are moments of incredible tension, violence, and drama, moments where characters reveal their vulnerabilities and weakness. Comedic moments and moments of sadness and through it all a multi layered and brilliant story is told by an American film maker who once again proves Harvey Keitel correct when he said, "Maybe he (Scorsese) got what he deserves--exclusion from the mediocre."
This film is Scorsese's finest work since Raging Bull, but it is not simply about Martin Scorsese or the amazing screen play by William Monahan, it is more than an amazing score, and great cinematography. While many of the accolades for this film belong to those behind the scenes people who envisioned and directed this film. One would be remiss to not point out the great performances of an all-star cast, many of whom deliver the finest performances of long and storied careers. Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon deliver incredible performances.
However the performance that stood out for me was Wahlberg, Mark Wahlberg's Sgt. Dignam stole every scene he was in, and he shared screen time with each of the afore mentioned actors. He gets to deliver some of the best lines, and with every scene he leaves the audience wanting more, and anticipating his next scene.
Since The Academy has had its collective heads stuck for so long, mentioning a Scorsese picture and Oscar in the same sentence seems to be a waste of time. That being said I can not say if he will finally win the Oscar that he has deserved for so long, as his major competition (Flags of our Fathers) has yet to be released, I will say that I expect to see Wahlberg nominated for best supporting, and Leo and Damon will be pitted against one another once more, this time for best actor, Monahan will be nominated for writing, and of course Scorsese will be nominated for director. Also, it goes without saying a best picture nomination will be in order for The Departed.
That was the long version; the short version is if you like a movie with incredible performances, direction, music and visuals. If you like a layered story that is not formulaic, in short if you appreciate film making and story telling at its finest then see this film. Even with the glowing reviews of myself and others, and the high expectations they will undoubtedly bring I assure you that you will not be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Idiots often say this: "Oh, yes, it's very good for Hollywood I
suppose, but not a patch on the Uruguayan original." Well smack me in
the face and call me an idiot, 'cos the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller
Infernal Affairs (Mou gaan dou) is aeons better than the
Scorsese-directed, all-star Hollywood remake.
The original was 100 minutes long and so taught you could probably play it like banjo strings. Several of the scenes were filmed with such artistry that they set a new standard in beautifully realised intensity. The plotting was tight, the acting pitch-perfect, and you really felt for the protagonists.
It was, in short, the best cops and robbers thriller anyone had seen in years.
So of course it had to be remade.
Enter Scorsese, Nicholson, DiCaprio, Damon, Sheen, Baldwin et al.
What results is bloated competence.
The set-pieces from Infernal Affairs remain, but are slacker and less well-handled. People in the cinema were laughing where they should have been clutching their heart to keep it in their chest.
The precision camera-work gives way to run-of-the-mill shots. Consider the sloppy execution of the rooftop fall.
The film is considerably longer without any real cause (bar, perhaps, Nicholson's hammy imperative to overplay any role he takes on). Witness the affair storyline, which is an unnecessary sop to the need for a more prominent female role, or the FBI addition, which is completely superfluous.
The end result is simply a lot weaker than the tightly-budgeted, tightly-edited, subtler original.
The only improvement and I shudder to say this is Alec Baldwin's role as the wise-cracking police captain, which made me chuckle on many occasions.
Get the original out instead. Please. You won't regret it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, due to all the hype I went to see this one with great
expectations, although I must admit without having seen the parent film
Infernal Affairs. What a let down ! Setting the scene is great, and
time taken to achieve this is well spent, but for me the film started
to drag, with expectation and patience well run out by the time the
plot strands began coming together. Yes, Jack Nicholson is a great
actor, but no he didn't convince me in the role, even though most of
the good lines and deliveries were his. But Boston Irish ? Everyone,
including the deliverer of the line "I'm Irish & can live with
something wrong the rest of my life...." failed to convince me of Irish
lineage. The accents, the faces, the attitudes were all wrong for souls
in torment over doing what they believe they have to do, a basic for
Irish/Catholic guilt and angst.
The film would have been much stronger with unknowns in several key positions, and for me once the disparate strands were established the rest of the film was very predictable and I wasn't kept guessing - crucial if we are to suspend disbelief and have pressure and tension build in the viewer.
DeCaprio fails to convince as a tough guy, despite the convincing scars. He stills comes across as an adolescent fuming after his pocket money's been withheld. Matt Damon looks like an awkward schoolboy, and was even less convincing than DeCaprio about being a cop. Mark Wahlberg sounded like he'd been taught to swear the week before, Martin Sheen was as hard bitten as a kitten and there were so many operational goofs the film became a comedy. A Federal agent running a State operation against his own informer? What a waste of time and budget monies. Only two people knowing about an undercover operation? BULL! Keep sending an undercover back after his nerve's gone ? Garbage ! Permanently deleting a full record (on a State Police computer no less!) without possibility of recovery ? Unbelievable - even children know data can be restored, and the system will keep a record of who deleted the information. For me, the film became a joke and I couldn't wait for the end to arrive so I could leave. By the time the end plays arrived and new players were falling like flies, the audience was laughing out loud at the inanity. Once again, Hollywood takes a good story and ruins it with poor crafting, no matter how well filmed. Very bad casting, a rushed and unfulfilling ending, far too much gore, not enough character substance, one dimensional players and an insult to the viewers intelligence.
First off, this is an American stylized remake of the Hong Kong hit,
Infernal Affairs. I have to give credit to that, a good film. I have
seen both Infernal Affairs and The Departed. I personally prefer The
Departed, and I think because of one thing: Martin Scorsese. This is
the master behind such greats as Taxi Diver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas,
and he's at it again. The film has an all star cast with Leonardo
DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, and
The Direction was amazing. (maybe one of the reasons why he won the Oscar for it) I loved how some of the scenes were shot and set up. Especially regarding the Chinatown, and police interrogation scenes, among many others. The film is perfectly set up with intense, suspense scenes while adding in amounts humor at times. It works really well. The script is top notch. (Also Oscar winning) Realistic strong dialogue from scene to scene.
Another thing I liked more in The Departed, as opposed to Infernal Affairs, was the acting. DiCaprio really seemed to earn a lot of respect from this role. Here, he takes on the tough guy persona so well. Sure it was known he was a good actor from his Oscar nominated performances in What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Aviator, but he really takes it to another level here. I can't see anyone else as the character, he fits so perfectly with it. Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, being Massachusetts natives, also give solid performances, with their natural accents. Nicholson works well in his role, as well. Everyone was extremely solid and everything seemed so real.
Set in Boston, The Departed takes in all the Boston like atmosphere. Beautifully shot scenes of the Massachusetts Golden Dome State Capital building is just one part of the landscape. The Dropkick Murphys song "I'm Shipping up to Boston" really fits, great use of songs. Scorsese usually works music into his films really well.
"Cops or Criminals. When you're facing a loaded gun what's the difference?" This quote really represents the film." Matt Damon plays a state officer in the Police, working for the crime boss of the area, Frank Costello (Nicholson). While Damon's character can be described as a "bad guy," he is really misunderstood. As a kid, he is sort of mentored into crime business by Costello while Costello becomes the father figure Damon's character never had. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a young guy, coming from a bad, crime ridden family. He's decides to become a police officer to get away from the crime life he's been surrounded by. Taking all this into account, Captain Queenen (Sheen) and Seargent Dignam (Wahlberg) decide to send DiCaprio's character undercover to find out more about the criminal underworld and Costello. With his family's crime record, he fit's perfectly into the situation. Now you have a highly ranked officer working for bad guy, and an undercover cop in the criminal underworld working for the State Police. From here it's an all out suspenseful thrill ride. Who's who? Who's working for who? Who can you trust? Paranoia threatens everyone. Lies. Betrayal. Sacrifice. How far will you take it?
At the heart of this film is character development. We really feel for the characters. We feel like we know them. It's really amazing part of this story and film. Tremendous story telling here.
This is one of the most entertaining and suspenseful crime/drama's I have seen in a while. While Infernal Affairs, came first, I think The Departed expands on it in so many ways. Really solid crime/drama. Check both out when you get a chance. It's really worth it. 9/10
Before seeing this, I knew I was in for a treat, given that it's a
Scorsese movie, but The Departed was even better than I expected.
The acting is outstanding. Leonardo DiCaprio gives what is quite possibly the best performance of his career. Even the people who hate him admit he did a good job. It's turned some haters into fans and my brother who despises him even says he was great. Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson give their best performances since The Talented Mr. Ripley and As Good As It Gets. Mark Wahlberg almost steals the show with the best lines. Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen are good, too.
Definitely one of the best films of the 00's. And easily one of the best remakes of all time. It's intense, funny, exciting, suspenseful, superbly acted, violent, has great characters, and has one of the most shocking scenes I've ever seen. And there's not a boring moment in it's two and a half hour running time.
The film will most likely be nominated for picture, director and adapted screenplay, and in my opinion, it deserves all three of them. DiCaprio and Wahlberg also deserve nominations.
See this as soon as you can.
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