13 November 2006

The Departed - Review

The movie "The Departed", as shown in the final frame, is all about moles and rats. A gangster infiltrates the cops and a cop infiltrates the gangs. What happens when they find out about each other is what forms the crux of the movie, but unfortunately not so in this one ;-)
This movie is inspired/copied from the Hong-Kong Movie "Infernal Affairs". It has tried to add the usual Hollywood Masala to it to make it more palatable. That precisely is the drawback of the movie.
While the movie has stunning performances from Jack Nicholson and to a large extent Mark Wahlberg, both Matt Damon as the bad guy who becomes a cop and Di Caprio, the cop who becomes a bad guy could have put in a little bit more effort.
Whatever happened to the magic of Martin Scorsese is anybody's guess. The director who gave us some outstanding movies like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and to some extent Gangs of New York falters here.
Much of the movie is spent in developing the characters, something which is trademark Scorsese. However, central to this movie is the sequence of events that happen _after_ the moles discover themselves. Scorsese has faltered precisely at that point. Without that focus, the movie seems like a love triangle set against a gangster backdrop.
The editing and camera work is of high quality. The sequential cuts to narrate the story and to move it forward all do show that the Master has still not lost his touch.
However, as i said, some more movie time into the sequence of events that happen after the moles are discovered, instead of the unnecessary love triangle would have made this a first rate movie.
Finally, one fails to see the real purpose behind the love triangle in this movie. It has no bearing to the end, nor did it serve any purpose other that highlighting the tension within di-caprio's mind while being a mole inside the gangster's den.
As a final review point, in case one is able to get a dvd of the original hong kong movie, one is better off watching that.
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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:19 PM


  1. Blogger Brady posted at Monday, November 13, 2006 at 12:40:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Interesting comments. Perhaps I missed it in your review, but what about the suspense and tension created in the movie (other than the love triangle)? I feel there was more than just Leonardo DiCaprio's psyche at stake.

    Also, the female not only created the triangle, but also provided the key connection between the two moles. Perhaps there was another way to do this, but I thought she did a wonderful job.

    For a view that is different from your own but still in need of a critical eye, check out my thoughts on The Departed here:


    Good post, and keep the reviews coming.

    b. lee
  2. Blogger Balaji posted at Monday, November 13, 2006 at 10:41:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Warning - climax revealed.

    succinct review! good job. i agree the girl was dispensable. besides i thought the movie should have ended when Matt Damon kills that second mole. kind of Polanski-Chinatown touch.

    the girl apparently opening that yellow envelope and Wahlberg killing Damon both looked silly.

  3. Blogger Reel Fanatic posted at Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 1:51:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    Wow .. this is the first really negative review of The Departed I've seen, so I just had to respond (politefully, of course) .. Until I saw Inarritu's Babel, I thought The Departed was the finest movie I had seen this year ... I thought DiCaprio's performance was very powerful, and having seen Infernal Affairs, I thought Mr. Scorsese, with a big assist from screenwriter William Monahan, just transformed this into his own movie that really worked for me
  4. Blogger K.Shyam posted at Tuesday, November 14, 2006 at 3:09:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    reel fanatic: this is not the first offbeat review of the movie. check here :

    balaji: if it had the ending you described, we will be having departed-2 which would be a copy of infernal affairs-2. I don't think we can withstand that.

    brad: i for one, don't think that there needs to be connection between the two moles ! and assuming that the female lead provides the connection between the two moles, where was it used ? and how was it exploited ?

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