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February 12th, 2006:
The Departed is a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film titled Infernal Affairs, which was a major hit in its country. The story of the remake revolves around two men at opposite sides of the law. While one is an undercover Boston cop who has infiltrated the Irish mafia, the other, with the help of a mob boss, has moved up the ranks as a police officer in order to be an informant for the same mafia. As word of moles within both organizations gets around, the two men are assigned the task of finding the informants. The situation gets even more complicated as both of them begin questioning their own loyalty. As discoveries are made, the two eventually cross paths.What to Expect:
What we have here is a typical Hollywood approach of copying or remaking an original and successful film that just happens to be little known in the mainstream. Usually, Hollywood films steal the great ideas, but lack the convictions, themes, and characters of the original movies. Infernal Affairs was a great film, but it is doubtful that most Americans have even heard of it. The Departed with Leo and Matt Damon in the lead roles will definitely get a lot of attention and the original source on which the film is based will go on unnoticed. Article continues below
In this case, however, the material should be in good hands as Martin Scorsese is directing. There isn’t a single director alive that can do the gritty crime thriller any better. Films like Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Gangs of New York have captivated audiences with their unique insight into the world of criminals. All of those films focused on the characters first, with the action being the product of their behavior and The Departed shouldn’t be any different. From a Scorsese film, one can expect that the protagonists’ moral certainty and faith will be tested. Character development should drive the film and the shooting locations (New York and Boston) should add plenty of stark atmosphere.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been Scorsese’s golden boy as this is the third consecutive film for which Scorsese has cast him as one of the leads. He was a bit of a stretch in his role in Gangs of New York, but he gave a brilliant performance as Howard Hughes in Scorsese’s colorful and compelling film, The Aviator. Both Leo and Scorsese got Oscar nominations for that one. The Departed should be more in the vein of Gangs of New York so once again it might be difficult to see Leo in the tough-guy role. For Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, this is their first time working with Scorsese. Supposedly, Nicholson was difficult to convince, but he was attracted to the idea of playing the villain. Apparently, he has even helped to re-write some of his scenes in order to add maliciousness to his character.In Conclusion:
I only needed to know that Scorsese is directing this star filled thriller in order to predict that the film is going to be good. Still vying for his first Oscar, he is probably the most relevant of all living directors. Since the release date was recently pushed from August to December, The Departed is clearly being prepped for the year-end awards season. The producers must have noticed that they have another contender on their hands, but with Scorsese directing, I expected as much. This is going to be a tense and captivating crime thriller for adults. With Nicholson re-writing some of his scenes, it shows that he is having fun with the role, which could produce some memorable moments. Expect the film to generate substantial Oscar buzz for Scorsese before the year is over.Similar Titles: Gangs of New York
, Mean Streets
, Donnie Brasco
October 6th, 2006 (wide)
January 26th, 2007 (limited)
February 13th, 2007 (DVD)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Dalton, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone
Total: 173 vote(s).
Action & Adventure, Drama, Suspense
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Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content and drug material.