Senin, 29 Desember 2008

The Departed

The DepartedTwo men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the massachusetts state police & the irish mafia but violence & bloodshed boil when discoveries are made & the moles are dispatched to find out their enemys identities. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 11/11/2008 Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio Jack Nicholson Run time: 151 minutes Rating: R

Customer Review: Big fat rats feeding on the cheese

This one is a real in and out of dirty cops and undercover cops

fighting it out in a poker hand, hide and seek

with death as the hole card.

The acting and script are the best I have seen of this sort

and there have been a whole lot of these dirty cop movies.

The gangsters are winning as this movie starts.

The inside man is a young fellow who is ambitious for higher things.

The undercover cop should have thought twice before taking the assignment...

I really enjoyed the movie, but not the harsh ending.

Customer Review: Infernal Affairs indeed.

The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006)

One of the things I was really, really hoping would happen with Martin Scorsese's remake of the fantastic Asian film Infernal Affairs would be that Scorsese would try to make the film a little less confusing during the opening half-hour or so, when we have very little experience with these characters and are still liable to get them easily confused. Nope. If anything, The Departed's opening half-hour is even more confusing than that of Infernal Affairs, and I didn't even have a language barrier helping to confuse me. And yet The Departed does, somehow, manage to be almost as good as the film that spawned it. This surprised me, given both the level of accomplishment found in the vast majority of American remakes of Asian films, no matter who's at the helm, and the level of accomplishment found in Martin Scorsese's films of late. The Departed shows Scorsese back with a vengeance.

The premise can be related simply, but is in practice almost impossibly complex: a criminal organization and the police have both trained a mole and infiltrated the other's organization. One mole finds out about the other, but has no idea of his identity. And to make things just a little more interesting, one mole is living with the other's ex-girlfriend. Yeah, that's the entire setup. But if you think about it for even a few seconds, you can start seeing all the many, many places a really good scriptwriter can go with a setup like this. And rest assured, Siu Fao Mak and Felix Chong, who wrote the original script, are very good. (Why else would Scorsese pick this instead of, say, One Missed Call?) Pushcart Prize winner William Monahan (Kingdom of Heaven), who adapted the original screenplay into English, did the right thing by, for the most part, simply getting out of the way and staying faithful to the original. (The bit with the ex-girlfriend is expanded upon somewhat, but the rest is faithful to the spirit, if not always the letter, of the original).

Of course, when you're Martin Scorsese, you pretty much have your pick of A-list addresses to stuff his screenplay with, and he goes all out here. The two moles are played by Scorsese regular Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, and as with the two moles in Infernal Affairs, they're subtly altered to look as alike as possible. The heads of the two organizations in question are Jack Nicholson and Martin Sheen. Yeah, we're not even out of the first tenth of the cast list and Scorsese has probably set himself back seventy or eighty mil. To put it bluntly, he got his money's worth. I don't think DiCaprio has been this good since The Basketball Diaries, and Damon? He's never been this good. Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Anderson, and a host of others all do fine work here as well, but there's one guy who really makes this movie for me, and that's Ray Winstone.

Ever since 1997's Face, Ray Winstone has pretty much been the (no pun intended) face of the modern British gangster movie for me, the way Michael Caine was back in the seventies. Problem is, no one over here's really heard of him all that much. Oh, sure, a couple handfuls of Americans saw the wonderful Sexy Beast, and he's had a few minor roles on this side of the pond, but let's face it, Ray Winstone hasn't gotten a lot of quality face time in American theaters. But Martin Scorsese, he knows from gangster flicks, and he goes for the best. He got it here. (And from the in-development credits at IMDB, it looks like America has now cottoned to Ray Winstone. It's about time.) Winstone plays Jack Nicholson's right-hand man, a guy who can go from affable drunk to sadistic psycho in the space of a breath (yeah, you've met him in the form of Joe Pesci before, but Winstone's even better at it). There's this air of coldness about him that's just perfect. Really, the movie wouldn't be what it is without him, despite his being a relatively minor character.

This is good stuff, this is. I wasn't sure Scorsese had it in him any more. I'm almost hoping he tries another Asian remake--The Bird People in China, maybe, of Miike's Triad Trilogy. If it's half this good it'll be worth seeing in the theaters. **** ½

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