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February 13, 2007

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DVD of the Week – The Departed (2006)

by RISHI AGRAWAL

I will admit that there are at least a couple people I know, whose opinions I respect, who can’t stand The Departed. Their basic point is that it just doesn’t measure up to Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong movie that served as a basis for The Departed. Now, I haven’t seen Infernal Affairs so I can’t really discuss the differences, but my understanding is the differences between the two films are relatively minor. The ending was changed. The importance of certain characters was altered. But, basically, we had the same movie.

I don’t think this is a case of a movie like Psycho where the original, for the most part, rendered Gus Van Sant’s remake irrelevant. Though the story may have been the same in Psycho, Vince Vaughn came across as cartoonish rather than having Anthony Perkins’ moody intensity. And it was difficult to see Anne Heche having the same innocent charm as Janet Leigh.

In the case of The Departed, though I cannot comment on the original performances, the acting in the remake was phenomenal. The city of Boston became a character in the film unto itself. I still respect the people who didn’t like The Departed, but I would think that the tendency in this situation would be to focus on the minutiae and lose sight of the big picture. We still have a great story that will now be seen by more audiences. If you haven’t seen either version of the film, you owe it to yourself to watch this movie.

The movie is available in full-screen and widescreen versions as well as a two-disc special edition. The two-disc version includes deleted scenes, introduced by Scorsese as well as a feature-length profile on Scorsese. I imagine that a better edition might be coming somewhere down the road. Scorsese has done commentary tracks before on DVDs, and you can only imagine he would do one again, especially if The Departed nets him an Oscar.

Other new releases this week: Half Nelson, Infamous, Marie Antoinette, School for Scoundrels, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Zoom


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jeff Faulkner
    Feb 14 2007

    It really goes without saying, on my part, that this is the best widely released, mainstream movie of the year. I did indeed see Infernal Affairs as well, but let’s be honest. I, for one, do not appreciate any negative thoughts on the movie, especially from ones who claim to adore the original so much. Their claims do not hold water IMO.
    My thoughts, and I have claimed this all along is in comparison musically to All Along the Watchtower. Forgive me for the brief musical interlude. Bob Dylan wrote a masterpiece, but was made into his own by Jimi Hendrix. Heck, a lot of people still think of that song being Hendrix, not Dylan.

    The original stills stands on it’s own for being groundbreaking, alas The Departed with Scorsese drawing from the well with past work,(esp. Goodfellas)made the movie into his own with a really admirable script from William Monahan crackling with American, by way of Boston, dialogue. The female lead withstanding, the rest of the bunch brought their A game in terms of performances. It will forever baffle me that this movie doesn’t have the buzz of front runner for the Oscar. Yes, Scorsese is indeed due for a director nod, but that really shouldn’t hold back what an amazing movie this is and not garner a best pic win.

  2. Nir Shalev
    Oct 26 2009

    Bit of a bump thread but…

    The reason this film is fantastic is because most Hong Kong action flicks tend to lack structure substantially. This film is an hour longer than Infernal Affairs, it adds to the character development that IA may be missing and also has fixed the structuring problem.
    I admit that after viewing IA for the first time years back I was slightly confused, but this film made it all work out properly because the the young versions and the adult versions of the two main characters look similar, unlike in the original. Also, the ending has not been changed, it’s simply 10 minutes longer. Cut out the last 10 minutes and you’ll see where the original ended.
    Again, this film expands on the problems that the original film had and makes it all better.

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