Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Departed; crime / drama, USA, 2006; D: Martin Scorsese, S: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin
Boston. Frank Costello, an influential mobster, recruits his assistant Colin into the police squad in order for him to spy for his business. At the same time, the police also infiltrates a mole into Frank's own team, the temperament cop Billy, but only Dignam and Queenan know about that. Colin starts a romantic relationship with a psychiatrist, Dr. Madolyn, but she also starts an affair with Billy. During a set up, Colin betrays and kills Frank. Billy discovers Colin was a mole and arrests him, but before he gets a chance to explain everything he gets killed by another mole. Colin, who appreciated Billy very much, kills the other mole. While entering his apartment, Colin gets shot by sergeant Dignam.
Just like the symmetry of Yin and Yang is radiating from the story about two moles inside the rows of different sides, it also radiates from the film "The Departed" itself, that is a remake from the Chinese film "Infernal Affairs". While the American version is extroverted, fast and served all of its messages neatly on a silver plate, the Chinese original is introverted, calm and deliberately decided to stay hermetic and open in some aspects. Martin Scorsese directs the film dynamic, fluid, clear, but standard and conventional, lacking the energy of his previous films, yet he is still able to top the original at a few moments, making both films, each in their own way, equally good. Being nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe as a best supporting actor, Jack Nicholson is once again more hamming than acting, but he is still brilliant non the less as the cynical mobster Frank - in one scene Frank arranges to secretly meet with his mole, Colin, inside of a porn cinema. Colin asks him why he chose this location, and he responds with: "I own this place!" Also, his first lines and also the first lines in the film are: "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me". The story is full of swearing and exaggeration, and some of the dialogues are hilarious - for instance, during a meeting of high ranking police officers, one cop asks sergeant Dignam if he has a mole inside the rows of Mobsters, while he replies: "Maybe yes. Maybe no. Maybe go screw yourself". Obviously, Martin Scorsese wasn't the best director in 2006 - it was Joon-ho Bong - while Dignam and some other characters are a travesty, but they still function inside the story as a whole: "The Departed" is overrated, but a truly well made movie, on the limit between Hollywood and anti-Hollywood. But it succeeded, just like his protagonist Colin, to decorate himself with foreign feathers and get away with it: the fact that "The Departed" won Oscars and a Golden Globe while the original, "Infernal Affairs", was not even nominated for anything, shows a strange disparity of those awards.