The Departed

Director - Martin Scorsese

Genre - Crime/Drama/Thriller

Atrociously disappointing film by Scorsese. Remade from 'Infernal Affairs', a HK thriller which was much more meatier and with more bite, this in contrast is just a mistake. The muddled plot about an undercover gangster embedded in the police force battling wits with an undercover cop buried deep in the trenches of an Irish mob is clever for about 20 minutes. Then it descends like bad canteen food you're forced to eat. The HK version although had similar fantastical script, was cloaked in cool tinted shades of deceit.


All about The Departed


Aine said…
Infernal Affairs trilogy is much better than the American remake.

Nice blog! I will definitely come by often.
Hi Aine, thanks for the comment and welcome aboard!
Shubhajit said…
I have to disagree with your review. Having seen the original as well as remake, i feel The Departed is a better of the two movies.

Where the HK movie was subdued and far more serene, the Scorcese version is gritty, explosive and hard-hitting. The only flaw of Departed, i feel, is its ending which has been made too bloody. But apart from that, in its kinetic pace, terrific performances, esp. by Mark Wahlberg & Nicholson, and its the wonderful use of soundtrack, i found the movie to be extremely engaging. In fact, in more ways than one, i found it to be reminiscent of Scorcese's golden earlier days.

As for Infernal Affairs, it was good, but didn't manage to implode onto the screen. In fact the best part of it was the guy who essayed the role later played by Nicholson. He had a Joe Pesci quality about him. And i liked Infernal Affairs II more than the 1st part.
You're entitled to a favorable assessment of 'The Departed' but we would like to point out some key peeves:-
1) Having seen 'Infernal Affairs', the remake which went along the same story structure bored us.
2) Wahlberg's role feels unreal and comical.
3) The ending in 'Infernal Affairs' was smart. The one in 'The Departed' looks clumsy and again, comical.

Please be advised that this may only be exclusively in our heads. We're not big fans of remakes and have even vowed never to watch 'Funny Games U.S.'! That just...the original was just chilling. Why spoil it? Are they gonna do 'Funny Games China' next? How about 'Funny Games Cambodia'?
sitenoise said…
1minutefilmreview said...
"have even vowed never to watch 'Funny Games U.S.'! That just...the original was just chilling. Why spoil it? Are they gonna do 'Funny Games China' next? How about 'Funny Games Cambodia'?

Not sure who "They" refers to in that. The same director made both films. Just as (I've heard) Guillem Morales is going to make an English language version of The Uncertain Guest.

I've got nothing against remakes at all. Just as I've got nothing against watching a good film a second time. I'm a performance oriented viewer (and reviewer). If all a film has going for it is plot, then a remake is going to be about as interesting as a second viewing. The popular bias against remakes seems like nothing more than posturing to me.

Full disclosure: The Departed, from top to bottom, kicked Infernal Affairs' ass! ;)
Thanks for the comment Sitenoise.

We are not attempting in any way at posturing. Remakes are most often made for financial gain (to reach more people) and in 'The Departed's case, Oscar glory.

We do not understand the need to explore again a movie that has already made its point in the first instance. We just rather watch something original than material that has been rehashed, without adding anything new to it. This to us is a very reasonable request, don't you think? Would anyone like to watch a remake of the 'Godfather'? We feel that if the general public accept remakes without bias that the future of cinema will be headed in that direction. Soon we'll have remakes of 'Citizen Kane' and 'Days of Heaven' too.

You are of course entitled to say 'Infernal Affairs' pale in comparison to 'The Departed' but we feel that performance wise, Andy Lau and Tony Leung brought more to the table than Scorsese's boys. It is something we'd like to call class.
sitenoise said…
I meant no offense.

I'd watch a remake of any of the films you mention ... not saying I go in thinking they'd be better, but ... why not.

There are plenty of remakes that out did the "originals", as if that term really has much meaning. Funny Games is a peculiar case in that it was a shot for shot remake by the same director. If you take money out of the equation, the film industry dies.

I suppose there's a difference between an "update" and a "remake" of a foreign language film. I mean Gus Van Sant doing a shot for shot of "Psycho", I'd never defend that!

As an avid film goer you are informed. Think of how many remakes have been seen by people who didn't know they were remakes. I'll bet the majority of Departed viewers never heard of Infernal Affairs. It would be a futile exercise to speculate what telling them about it, or making hem watch the "original", would have on their experience of the remake.

And on and on. Interesting subject.
Ed Howard said…
Actually, Van Sant's remake of Psycho is more defensible than most -- it's an experiment in how much of a film's "identity" is contained in the shots, and how much might be located in such qualities as color, performance, and subtle thematic elements. The surprising answer is that you can make two films that have almost the exact same shots and yet are quite different from one another. The cool, ironic tone of Van Sant's film is quite distant from what Hitchcock achieved. Van Sant's Psycho is ultimately a failed experiment, but it's also an interesting one, with much more to offer than the typical cash-grab remake.

That said, I like The Departed a lot. The main thing it has to offer are great performances from Wahlberg and Nicholson, the latter going so over-the-top that he's practically exploding. It's a lot of fun. Not a masterpiece or anything, and certainly not Scorsese's best work, but it's still good.
Sitenoise - We get where you're coming from, Sitenoise. It IS an interesting topic. A remake is one of the riskiest things to do in filmmaking. It's like a new wife taking over the role of a previous one who had recently passed away from an accident/illness. The kids will expect a lot from the new mum, comparing her unfairly with their dearly departed (no pun intended), natural mother.

Ed - Jack Nicholson as an Irish mob boss just didn't do it for us. The way he behaved in the movie was like an old geezer admonishing his children for straying from the path. Wahlberg was channeling Al Pacino in 'Heat' too much, swearing away as if he's a two-dollar whore whose favorite spot on the sidewalk has just been taken by younger upstarts.
On the issue of Van Sant's 'Psycho', we feel that it was an exercise in futility. Vince Vaughn wasn't even a quarter of the creep the guy playing the original Norman Bates was. And the cinematography was just too distracting, too overpowering.
That's an interesting take on the film. Personally I think it's a better film than you give it credit for, but not one of Scorcese's best. It's hard to watch a remake without comparing it to the source material (the same problem most people have with novel adaptations). My biggest problem with the film, was the way they missed their mark on the face off scene between Nicholson and Sheen's character. That's a great scene in Infernal Affairs, but wasted in Departed.

As a side note, I think Vince Vaughn was an inspired choice for Psycho... Please don't shun.
Shawn - We forgot about 'The Departed' after we viewed it. In contrast, the images in 'Infernal Affairs' stayed with us. And one need only to look at the ending of 'The Departed' with the rat at the window to realize how silly the whole conclusion was compared to the Hong Kong version's.

We are of the opinion that it is also the least deserving of Scorsese's films to have finally won him best director in the Oscars. 'Raging Bull', 'Taxi Driver' and 'Goodfellas' are far and way more superior.

Vince Vaughn has one good movie to his name - 'Swingers'. Cillian Murphy would have been an inspired choice.