Monday, October 23, 2006

The Departed vs. Infernal Affairs

(Today at the Denver library, an elderly gentleman grabbed today's Wall Street Journal, sat at a table and promptly fell asleep sitting up. I wasn't brave enough to grab the paper from him while his eyes were closed, so I don't know what he was reading. But the weekend Journal had an article on an LA cop-turned-lobbyist-turned informant who survived a bullet in the face and had to wiretap a friend. Which reminds me...)

In the last few days I saw both "The Departed," (Scorcese's latest star-studded movie) and "Infernal Affairs" (the Hong Kong movie on which Scorcese's movie is based). The people I watched "The Departed" with all like IA better, without as many plot contrivances (two men going for the same woman), a more clever take on the Wong/Martin Sheen character trying to get out of the multistory building without the gang seeing him or him with the Tony Leung/Leonardo DiCaprio character, etc. But the Scorcese version did fill in some questions from IA.

Here's what some of the pros think:

The AP says: "Infernal Affairs" remained taut throughout its 101 minutes; "The Departed," at 150 minutes, sort of lolls around awhile, with lots of soul-searching and pill-popping, before reaching its climactic rooftop conclusion."

The New York Times:
"Fine as Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Damon are, neither is strong enough to usurp memories of the actors who played the same roles in the original — Tony Leung as the good guy, Andy Lau as the bad — both of whom register with more adult assurance. That’s an observation, not an indictment. Comparisons between “Infernal Affairs” and its redo are unavoidable given how closely the screenwriter William Monahan follows the first film’s beats and scenes. But as fans of “Infernal Affairs” (and its two sequels) know well, the Hong Kong film owes an enormous debt to Mr. Scorsese, whose imprint, along with that of Michael Mann, is all over the trilogy. The Hong Kong and Hollywood action films are themselves doppelgängers of a sort, and Mr. Scorsese, himself larger than life, is one of their biggest, baddest daddies."

""The Departed" reimagines its source material rather than just leeching off it, preserving the bone structure of the first movie while finding new curves in it. The story has been clarified; the ellipses of the original have been filled in with just the right amount of exploratory shading. ... DiCaprio's performance is terrific -- but I can't say it's better than Tony Leung's, in "Infernal Affairs." Leung vested his version of the character with even deeper furrows of sadness, particularly in a scene where he meets the young daughter he didn't know he had. But I think it's possible to feel warmer toward "Infernal Affairs" than toward "The Departed," while recognizing the ways in which Scorsese has built on, and enhanced, the original's strengths."

What do you think?

Anyways, the Denver International Film Festival schedule is out. Anthony Minghella and Tim Robbins are scheduled to attend. Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn" closes the festival. Tickets to the public go on sale Friday. Party on Thursday (see second item in previous post)

1 comment:

Lactatingbookworm said...

Infernal affairs was much better. But Leo did an amazing job and was as good as Tony Leung.