February 12, 2007

“The Departed” (2006)

When I read the plot outline of this movie, I immediately got reminded of a Chinese flick that I watched sometime ago – “The Infernal Affairs” – which was a brilliantly made movie with an all-stars cast. Curious, I wiki-ed “The Departed” and found that it was INDEED the western adaptation of “The Infernal Affairs”. With a little bit of a tweak here and there of course, but the main plot remains the same – a thug undercovers in the police force, and a police undercovers in the thug force – which then, the fate of both undercovers intertwine into a complex plot of betrayal and lies.

So, it is only natural for us who have watched “The Infernal Affairs” to benchmark “The Departed” against the original. For me, I find the original better. “The Departed” seems to be too dense and the storyline’s a bit of a rush. It’s like, cramping the whole fucking lifetime’s worth of storyline into a 150 minutes of celluloid (yes, ironically, it FELT that long). Not that it was bad but, if you’ve seen “Infernal Affairs”, you’d know what the word ‘better’ means. The continuity was a little bit of a mess.

Then comes the cast. I don’t know if this is just me but, I think Matt Damon didn’t carry the character of the villain-rat well enough. That guy literally looked more like a retard (though he surprisingly played the Bourne legacy damn well) than anything else. He’s a good actor yes, but he just didn’t have what it takes to play that role. For a complex role like that, you’d need someone that look smarter, you know, nice on the front and super freaking bad behind his veil of deception.

And then, there’s also something about the script. There were too many ‘fucks’ in it. The good and the bad, doesn’t matter who they are, they seem to revolve around the word ‘fuck’ like it is their religion or something. You can almost virtually spot a ‘fuck’ or two in each and every sentence that they utter. It’s like monosodium glutamate in Chinese food. It was so overused that it sounded trite and bland and not that special anymore. Here’s an example :

Dignam : [to a team of police officers inside a meeting] “Ok, my people are out there. They’re like fucking Indians. You’re not gonna see ‘em. You’re not gonna hear about ‘em. Except for me and Captain Queenan. You will not EVER, know the identity of the undercover people. Unfortunately, this shithole has more fucking leads than the Iraqi navy.” [then looks at Ellerby]

Ellerby : “Fuck yourself”

Dignam : “I’m tired from fucking your wife”

Ellerby : “How’s your mother?”

Dignam : “Good, she’s tired from fucking my father”

The script’s pretty much like that the whole length of it. Some of it ridiculous and some downright funny. I’m not even sure how are they going to release it in the cinema – it sure hell going to be a lot of beeps if it ever gets approved for screening.

So, that’s pretty much about it. Just marginally good. Nothing to shout about. I doubt you’re going to see this title in the local shore cinema – so if you haven’t already watched “Infernal Affairs”, go get this DVD or download it from the internet. It has 150 minutes worth of potential to kill your time with – if you don’t have anything to do.


There’s actually one particular quote which I kinda like from Alec Baldwin who played that Ellerby character :

Marriage is an important part of getting ahead. It lets people know you’re not a homo. A married guy seems more stable. People see the ring, they think, “At least somebody can stand the son of a bitch.” Ladies see the ring, they know immediately that you must have some cash, and your cock must work.

How very apt… how very…

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 

13 Comments to ““The Departed” (2006)”

  1. evil_gal says:

    good quote but a guy still can be a married to a lady and stay homo.
    and I think every married guy would agree to the cock part ;p

  2. michaelooi says:

    evil_gal – A homo only fucks people (or animals) of the same sex. If a married guy leads a secretive (or open) gay life, then that guy’s called a bisexual – unless the marriage is of the same sex as well. But what’s the point really, since marriage is a process to legalize a couple to have babies. Gay couples can’t have babies, unless they adopt.

  3. anas says:

    i saw “the departed” at the local cinema some time ago, yes they were a lot of fucks, although they silenced the fuck word (no beeping), me and my friends could lip read the fuck word…haha but too many fucks in the movie kind of potong stim, because you get silence in the middle of a dialogue one too many times, and the characters shoot without warning nor mercy it was funny…maybe i should watch ‘internal affairs’ too…heheh

  4. Arkane says:

    Maybe in “infernal Affairs” they substituted the word “fuck” with “diu”. haha.

  5. Damaris says:

    You should have seen it on screen. The ‘f’ word was censored. Most of the conversations were censored. However our bright censorship board failed to censored words such as ‘dick’ and ‘cunt’. How interesting.

  6. michaelooi says:

    anas / damaris – So it did get through for screening in the cinemas huh? Those guys must be working overtime to do the censoring. There were like… A LOT… A FUCKING LOT… of profanities in the movie.

    arkane – Hahah, I can imagine that man. Just like this :

    Dignam : [to a team of police officers inside a meeting] “Ok, ngo keh yan hampalang hai chut pin. Hoi tei chi tiu keling kuai. Lei thai hoi mm tou. Lei theng hoi mm tou. Cheng ngo thong Captain Queenan. Lei yek tou mm wui chee tou, ngo tai keh san fan. Tan hai, li kor lou shu long… yau tiu lan kam tor yee mm chai, pei Iraq kuan-toi tor.” [then looks at Ellerby]

    Ellerby : “Tiu lei chee kei ler…”

    Dignam : “Ngo tiu lei lou-por tiu tou charn”

    Ellerby : “Lei lou-mou tim aa?”

    Dignam : “Kei hou aa, tiu ngo lou-tau tiu tou charn”

    If you don’t understand Cantonese, nevermind.

  7. Arsky says:


    found your blog yesterday and got totally blown away ..damn power !

    still waiting for a nice copy of the departed to surface on the net as i’m too stingy to go cinema lol~

    there was a crazy ass taiwanese version of the original infernal affairs that got hot around the net not too long ago.. some cdpro2 …parts of the film are being dubbed to suit their mouth movements lol … check it out if ya haven’t ! ohyea, its in taiwanese tho … but shouldn’t be too hard for hokkienese/penangese/malaynese zzz

  8. ShaolinTiger says:

    I thought it was pretty good 0_0

  9. vincent says:

    Refering to the above comments about censorship…I am pleased to announce that the censoreship board was slacking off their work in Babel.

    The highlight would be a full frontal nudity shot of this chick (boobs, pubic hair) and many shots of her butt.

  10. michaelooi says:

    arsky – Errmm, the dvd version of “the departed” has already been out on the net for quite some time. Search for ‘AXXO’ in mininova or torrentspy.

    shaolintiger – It was good. But not as good as “the infernal affairs”… you should check out the original dude

    vincent – I have a copy of Babel here, have yet to watch it. (Like, who gives a fuck about censors nowadays? Your main source of profanities and pornos ain’t coming from the film media. It comes from the internet – like, no shit, FUCK – there…)

  11. ShaolinTiger says:

    I did, I found departed better..probably because I don’t understand Cantonese very well and they changed the actors completely when the characters got 3 years older, which confused me somewhat and I found rather stupid. Apart from the stupid actor changing, the continuity was somewhat better in infernal affairs, it was hard to keep track of time in departed, as it didn’t give you many clues how long had passed.

  12. michaelooi says:

    oh that character progression part, hhaha yeah, i got a little confused too. I somehow didn’t like that young dude who played young-AndyLau. Don’t know his name but, he sure looks like someone who needed some swatting on the face.

  13. megabigblur says:

    Are there ANY western adaptations that are better than the original Chinese/Jap/Korean ones? I’m thinking of the recent epidemic of horror movies e.g. The Ring, The Grudge…. >_

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