‘The Departed’. I know most people have seen it before, so have I.
But last night we settled down into the couch (‘in’ is the operative word) with ice cream (has to be good quality) and watched it again on Film 4. What a great film, thoroughly enjoyable and I would argue with anyone who thinks ‘Infernal Affairs’ – the original on which ‘The Departed’ is based and directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak – is better.
Like many people I watched the Hong Kong film on DVD after I had first seen ‘The Departed’. Now I love Hong Kong action films; the locations – partly because my family lived there for 17 years – the stylized violence, shootouts, acrobatic fight scenes and spectacle but, nevertheless, I much preferred the American version of this film perhaps because ‘Infernal Affairs’ was surprisingly restrained and cool for a Hong Kong flick.
‘The Departed’ on the otherhand is full of razor sharp dialogue, a pumping soundtrack dominated by Dropkick Murphys, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Van Morrison, ultraviolent set pieces, a belligerent amount of swearing, slurs and insults and a wonderful cast.
I for one really loved Leonardo Di Caprio and Matt Damon and thought their symbiotic relationship, on which the premise of the film was based (the premise is most definitely the star), worked seamlessly throughout the film which, although long, never dragged.
On the downside Jack Nicholson was a shallow caricature with no redeeming qualities whatsover. He played the devil incarnate as a ham who, towards the end of the film, lost the plot completely. That aside, he was always entertaining as a malicious, badass, motherfucking, crime boss.
Mark Wahlberg also played his part with relish having many choice lines as a hardnosed Sergeant and let’s give due credit to Alec Baldwin who, although not normally seen on screen in a Police Captains uniform, was superb.
I’ve seen alot of Scorsese films and after seeing Shutter Island recently – another film I really enjoyed (and I didn’t see the twist coming til the end which made me love it all the more) – it’s clear that his vision is becoming more baroque, his set pieces more saturated, grand, exaggerated. Bloodfests and high octane sequences play the predominant role in ‘The Departed’ with character development taking a back seat and while for some this may not be ‘ The Scorsese way’ - after his classic character films such as ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas’ - the film is nevertheless alot of fun, a rollicking ride and at home on a Tuesday night makes for great television.
So a word to all you ‘lace curtain motherfuckin Irish pussies’ if you haven’t seen it get it out, if you have already it’s worth another watch…
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