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