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Customer Review

95 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant remake of "Infernal Affairs", October 13, 2006
It's a tricky business adapting a foreign movie for an American audience. Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" captures all the best elements of the original film "Infernal Affairs" and works traditional Scorsese themes and material into the film making it very much his own and every bit the equal to the Chinese film. Featuring outstanding performances all around perhaps this film will finally earn Scorsese the Oscar for Best Director that he deserved for "Raging Bull" over twenty years ago.

Two state trooper academy graduates one an undercover officer named Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a mole in the department Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) working for crime lord Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson)have opposite goals. Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) charge Costigan with gathering as much dirt as possible on Sullivan so they can finally take him out. They work up a false history for Costigan which includes a brief stint in prison to create credibility. By comparison Sullivan is a boy scout who rises to the top of his department rapidly working for Ellerby (Alec Baldwin)in a rival department. Both are charged with ferriting out the mole in their respective organizations and both are romancing the same woman (Vera Farmiga) without ever meeting.

It's a brilliantly constructed game of cat and mouse with each playing the respective role at one point in time. Filled with brilliant visuals that echo the themes of the script adapted by William Monahan ("Kingdom of Heaven")from the script by Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong the film manages to stay true to the elements that worked best in the Chinese film while incorporating elements unique to "The Departed". DiCaprio and Damon give complex, compelling performances as opposite sides of the same coin. Nicholson plays Costello with psychopathic intensity at times without going too far over the top. The entire cast gives stellar performances but I'd like to note tree actors in particularly who do the most with their limited roles--Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen (who replaced two other actors that had to drop out--Robert DeNiro and Gerard McSorley)and Mark Whalberg all three give intense performances and inhabit their characters fully. Vera Farmiga handles her role of Madolyn equalling the big boys despite the fact that her character isn't given as much screen time by comparison. Special note should also be made of actor Ray Winstone ("The Proposition", "King Arthur" and "Cold Mountain") who gives a nice edgy performance as Mr. French.

The film runs 2 hours and 22 minutes. Scorsese uses every minute to allow the actors to build their characters or for brilliant set pieces. The film does sag a bit towards the middle but that's partially due to its complex set up for the story during the first twenty minutes of the film.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 23, 2011 1:32:39 PM PDT
Jane Brady says:
Nice review but I'm pretty sure The Departed is based on Whitey Bulger.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2011 4:04:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2011 5:41:57 PM PDT
Wayne Klein says:
Go to:

You'll see that "The Departed" is based on the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs" written by Alan Mak and Felix Chong NOT based on Whitey Bulger.

Scorsese may have been inspired by Bulger's history but the film was a remake.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2011 12:42:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2011 12:43:38 PM PDT
Jane, try watching the original Infernal Affairs trilogy with subtitles. Great films otherwise you wouldn't ever get this American remake. The Departed's producers and director loved it...obviously.

Posted on Nov 12, 2012 3:33:54 PM PST
the eye 5555 says:
An Extremely powerful Chinese leader has stated this is one of his favorite movies.

Posted on Oct 23, 2013 10:31:44 PM PDT
JNagarya says:
Yes, the film is a "remake" of the excellent "Infernal Affairs". And Scorcese can thank that film for the fundamental premise. But it is actually a different story around that premise: Costello (Nicholson) is Whitey Bulger, and much of the story (he's a protected FBI informant) is directly out of that factual history, including the ties to Providence, RI (which has no equivalent in "Infernal Affairs").

None of that takes anything away from "Infernal Affiars": it is a different story.
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Wayne Klein

Location: My Little Blue Window, USA

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