The Departed (2006)

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The Departed (2006)

Postby hengcs » Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:15 am

when i first heard of the remake,
i know i am going to watch the film regardless of its quality ...

but as of now, i think i will DEFINITELY watch it ...

"the mass" seems to like it

"the critics" seems to like it too ...

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby smurfrevolt » Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:00 am

Quite enjoyable, except for that happy ending. How Scorsese. hehe.

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby justindeimen » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:49 pm

Review courtesy of

As darkly comedic and resonant as Goodfellas (if they had mobiles and wireless Internet) and as virile and gritty as Mean Streets, Scorcese scores a winner by all regards in The Departed. And yet the closest description for a story of this magnitude that spans across the generations and multiple complex characters would be L.A. Confidential. Rarely does a film work on every level that it aspires to and theres really not much to say that contradicts it. Its a potboiler crime fiction of epic proportions with every strand of intersecting plot brimming with rising conflict.

The coarse dialogue, contextual environments and masculine anti-heroes are straight out of Scorceses playbook, transposed from mobs to cops. The frissons of being mucked in such a ravenous war zone of conflicting ideals is slowly transformed into a deeper sense of apprehension when it becomes an operatic thriller that closes in on the deception and betrayal between the men caught on the frontlines.

Let me just begin by assuaging fears of a slavish copy of the original as Scorcese, who is arguable the master of the modern gangster genre (including the inspiration for Hong Kongs wave of gangster films) makes this revision very much his own and all but seals his accolades come award season. The premise and plot structure remain true, but key sequences have been given a new treatment and there are different assertions and idiosyncrasies in the characters which are created by their respective actors.

Its a welcome difference in the locale from Hong Kong to Boston. It allows for more elaborate setpieces with clever use of racial prejudices and homophobia in the language that adds another dimension to the politics involved. And of course a much more vibrant Boston landscape in the films brooding atmosphere that plays a bigger part in the films scope with its flagrant bending of time and space. And as usual, one actor stands out playing his role the way audiences have always recognised him. He brings a crucial, unrestrained element to his larger-than-life character that one might suspect is unseen in the script.

Nicholsons Costello is an expanded takeoff from Eric Tsangs supremely underdeveloped but scene-stealing role as the mob boss Sam in Infernal Affairs, just one of Scorceses prerogatives that was undertaken with the glut of talented performers he was presented with. Nicholson forces himself into the foreground with yet another of his quintessential performances that borders somewhere between paranoia, rage and aloofness. But Scorcese burdens the films strongest scenes by placing Nicholson in the centre stage, letting him pull the emotional strings with nervy self-reliance by sheer presence alone. Of course, this can be a masterstroke at times, but an overdose of Jack can betray a scenes natural gravitas.

And its made clear very early on that this is not a man to be trifled with, no matter how captivating Frank Costello is. We must not like him, even if we must resist the temptation to. In an opening monologue that draws us in closer than a thousand scenes ever could, Costello reveals himself as a growling psychopath thats only certain of one thing himself. Effort is taken to magnify the man. Almost as if recounting the exploits of Kaiser Soze with its fair of tight crosscutting, immersive edits that squeeze out backstory and narration of a merciless killer.

The cat-and-mouse dynamics between Damon and DiCaprios characters are the anchor of the latter half of the film. It reaches breaking point when the walls close down and they have to handle the responsibility of decisions alone and the unrelenting paranoia under deadly scrutiny. A common respect is grounded between the 2 moles, and Scorcese wisely cuts between the snippets of their lives during the good times and the bad times to show the impact of sacrifice within those men. Theres also not so much of the ellipsis that the original had in its narrative, which really fills in big gaps and rounds off each of the players involved. The high doses of tension and great pacing carries the momentum of each revelation further through the story, as the stakes get higher and higher. The urgency and fearlessness of the camera swerving in and out of confrontations and intimate close-ups of low-key moments create moments of significance out of nothing.

Scorcese works indelibly well with an observant DiCaprio, who once again brings pathos to a character that had stylistic sheen overpower its emotional whiplashes in the original. As much in Nicholsons shadow as Damon is within his, theres a hierarchy of powerful performers present that in any other film would have been overkill. But in new scribe William Monahans script, each character is fleshed out and most importantly, each of them has a clear voice. There are hints about the battles of moral complexities being fought by the characters. Their actions carry weight further into the film. Theres resistance to the actions that need to be done and guilt over those that have been done. They are established clear roles early on and its compelling to see how these roles are switched around until the final crescendo of madness ceases. Unapologetically indulgent, its a masterful effort by Scorcese after 11 years of absence in his strongest genre.


Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby hengcs » Mon Oct 16, 2006 5:02 am

ok, i have finally caught it ...

there are some things that i like abt this new film,
but there are also some things that have been lost from the original ...
(give me some time, and i will try to mention them) ...

apparently, our old review has been wiped out last year,
and i did not have the time to write the complete review again (explaining why it was so good) ...

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby hengcs » Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:31 am

Hi to all,

I guess many reviews would have done a great job highlighting what is so good about The Departed or so good about the Infernal Affairs ... so let me do the remaining by comparing the two ... as there are many aspects, I shall highlight only the "essence" that was lost (if any) ...

In order for me to elaborate what I like about The Departed or Infernal Affairs, I guess I need to highlight some spoilers ... oh no ... but if you have already watched either, I guess it is ok ... ha ha ha

* major spoilers *

What is better in The Departed ...

(i) well well well, the film does look more "real" in terms of its grittiness, violence, language, costume and entire depiction of the "culture" ... *applause * ... thanks to the great ensemble of cast ...

(ii) the scene whereby the "nitwit" realizes who is the undercover (becos he gave the wrong address, but leonardo appeared correctly) ... wow, for a moment you wonder whether Leonardo is gonna kill him ...

(iii) by combining the two gals into one, it has its pros (cons to be discussed later) ... in a way, she signifies the common idealism that seeks to illuminate the path of the two male protagonists ... as they try their best to be a better person ...

What "essence" gets lost in The Departed ... implying Infernal Affairs had it, but The Departed lost it ...

(i) It is NOT just about a different ending, but the ESSENCE (purpose) of the original ending ... to a critical mind, I would say that the original ending should be considered much better
i.e., with the villain being alive ...

the film then challenges all of us:
-- Does the world have a benevolent and forgiving heart? Are we willing to pardon a villain if he decides to turn over a new leaf? Do we even believe they will change?
-- In life, do we always have a second chance?
-- In reality, does the good always "live" and the bad always die? and if not, how should we live?

PS: In Infernall Affairs, I also think there was "more desire" to be good on Andy Lau's side, such that in order to start becoming good, he has to erase his past, thereby committing more bad ... but if he does not, can he even be accepted into the world of good guys? ... In The Departed, I think there was less evidence of Matt trying to be good ...

(ii) I think Leonardo deserves it ... and he may just garner the Best Actor award ... wow ... but Leonardo and Tony Leong opted for a VERY different portrayal ... In Infernal Affairs, Tony speculated that if you have to be an undercover for so many years (8 years, 10 years, etc) ... you have to try to "live" "normally" by seeking "happiness/smiles" etc even during your undercover days ... you cannot keep showing a painful face ... hence, friendship is built, romance is established, life goes on, etc ... unlike most depiction of undercover, it should not be just about pain and agony and struggle ... that was why in Infernal Affairs, there are times whereby Tony was at peace with himself ... but in The Departed, Leonardo opted for the constantly divided/agonized undercover ...

(iii) The bond between the nitwit and the undercover cop is gone ... such that when the nitwit died, the audience felt less ... in the Infernal Affairs, I think the audience felt more ... but it is more than a subplot/minor character ... it is about whether friendships are established, it is about trust even amidst distrust, it is about struggle when you finally have to abandon them (when you reveal your identity, etc) ... life becomes more gray than good vs bad ...

(iv) By combining the two gals into one, i have to say that after watching The Departed, I was more compelled to understanding why Matt and her is a couple, I am less convinced why Leonardo and her is a couple ...

(v) The brilliance of the "morse code" was totally gone ... ;(

* end of spoilers

After lots of contemplation, I finally conclude (in my very humble opinion) that The Departed was only better in terms of its violence and depiction ... But for the Infernal Affairs, it is definitely more philosophical and thought provoking ... wow ...

* applause to both films *

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby hengcs » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:29 am

to those who have watched, what do you think?
or is it another "cultural difference"?!
ha ha ha

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby wpqx » Mon Nov 06, 2006 3:07 am

Well it took me far too long to see this movie than I had initially anticipated, but well there has been too much real life drama going on to explain it. I have not seen Internal Affairs, and therefore have no opinion on which is better/worse. I have however seen everything Scorsese has put on celluloid (at least all his fiction films), and well the overwhelming response from most people is that Scorsese is back and in rare form. I however would argue that he's never left. I immensly enjoyed his last three features, but there's something to be said about a director who returns to the genre he helped redefine. Likewise no matter how much you may like John Ford's Mogambo, Mr. Roberts, or the Quiet Man, there is no where near the same satisfaction you get when he comes back to his own in the Searchers. Scorsese is certainly drawing parallels to himself and Ford, if by nothing else the use of part of Max Steiner's score for Ford's The Informer.

Scorsese is back in the genre, but much different. The obvious omission is his cast. The almost entirely Italian mafia of his earlier pictures has been replaced by the Irish. It is ironic that a great deal of racial prejudice is shown here, particularly by the Irish towards the Italians. Leonardo DiCaprio is becoming something of the new DeNero and seems to be getting better with every appearance. As great as his work may have been in The Aviator, I might say he one ups himself here. However the film is so packed, that no one actor dominates the film. Everyone is strong in their moments, and for my money Mark Whalberg seems to make the most of his supporting part.

Rooting for anti-heroes is always something a little tricky. The rat has to die, but in this film there's a question of "which rat." I found myself pulling for DiCaprio throughout the film, and grew more and more to despise Damon. Scorsese works well to develop this, as in his traditional world the mob would be the "good guys". Even Jack Nicholson who is nearly impossible not to like, makes us repelled by him. I actually wanted him to get caught, get turned in, get shown up. Again great work by director and actor to make me root against Jack.

Stylistically Scorsese keeps his usual visual flair, and makes us occasionally very aware of his craft. At times this can be distracting, as in Damon's phone conversation with his girlfriend in clear focus in the background. The shot is jarring, and recalls very directly some of the "trick" photography used in Kane. The blending of time is something also fairly common for Scorsese. Everything moves fast, and you are never even sure how long everything has been going on in this story. It is very indicative of the narrative style of Goodfellas and Casino. In all a first rate effort, and certainly a frontrunner as the best film of the year. I might add that I'm genuinely happy that Scorsese has a bonafied box office hit on his hands.

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:03 am

Does it reaches the heights of a Taxi Driver or a Raging Bull? I think I already know the answer but I'm just askin'.

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby wpqx » Mon Nov 06, 2006 9:48 pm

Certain moments yes, but I would probably elect Goodfellas as Scorsese's best film now, and this film is not up to that level. However its certainly among his best.

Re: The Departed (2006)

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:30 am

At this point I have Goodfellas in Scorsese's "second-tier" group along with the likes of Casino and the underrated Bringing Out the Dead. But I must say that the more I watch Casino, the better it seems in comparision to Goodfellas, which turns me off at times with its constant barrage of off-color humor and fetishizing of criminal life (albeit unwitting).


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