Just came back from watching the movie so it’s still fresh in my mind. Overall the movie was good but it could have been shorter. Good movie but nothing extraordinary, not a master-piece, not a classic. In this period filled with really bad movies it’s a movie you have to watch.
Some things are better than in the original (Infernal Affairs) like character development. It is especially true for DiCaprio’s character (not really for other character). However the scene, when Wahlberg cites all of DiCaprio’s family connection to the mob, takes too much time. They take a long time establishing how DiCaprio sells drugs with his cousin and finally get into Nicholson’s gang. However after that it doesn’t take long for Nicholson to give his total trust (in one year and a half to two years), which bothered me. This takes the first hour of the movie and i think it could have been cut by at least 20min.
Some scenes have a lot more impact in Infernal Affairs than in The Departed. I’m gonna cite 3 scenes which are some of the most important in the story in my opinion:
-The death of Wong/Queenan: in IA, Wong falls suddenly, lands on a taxi cab taking Yan by surprise. When Yan realizes Wong is dead you can feel the suffering Yan goes through by the loss of the only person who knows he’s a cop but also/mainly by the loss of his friend.
In The Departed we see Sheen falls in slow-mo until he hits the ground in a splash of blood. There’s absolutely no connection, no friendship between DiCaprio and Sheen. We see DiCaprio almost on the verge of crying. But Why ? He’s not his friend and there’s still Wahlberg to prove he’s a cop.
-The death of Sam/Costello: In IA, Ming seems to show a desire to redeem himself and become a good man for his girlfriend. When he confronts Sam in the parking lot during the raid, he kills Sam to remove any evidence he’s a mole and restart on a blank slate.
In The Departed, although Damon slightly mentions starting anew in another city, when he kills Costello he does it just to cover his a-s-s. Never after he seems like he might become good.
-The elevator and final scene: In IA, the meeting on the rooftop is between two men on each side of the law but sharing so much in common. You can even sense that Ming has some respect for Yan. There’s no violence until what happens in the elevator. When Yan dies you can see Ming didn’t want this to end like that. Yan’s death is really emotional, all sounds are drawn off and only an opera piece is playing. When the second mole gets killed by Ming you only hear gunshots.
In The Departed The final scenes are a mess. Damon and DiCaprio just hate each other’s gut, the token black guy shows up, the 2nd mole shows up and everybody executes everybody. They just stand there to get shot. The scene seems really rushed.
And when Damon open his door at the end of the movie to see Wahlberg waiting for him, it was the cherry on top of the cake. Everybody was cracking up. How many shots to the head do we need to see ? Was it really necessary to kill Damon and provide the audience with a happy ending ?
Although The Departed is a good movie I felt a lot more satisfied with Infernal Affairs. They have very different feel to them. One is over-the-top street violence while the other one is more subdued, concise and nuanced.
For those who says that The Departed is way more psychological than IA I would have to disagree. Infernal Affairs shows how two men struggle to know what defines if they’re good or bad. Is it their actions or their allegiance to one side or the other of the law? In the end they’re really similar. Yan tells the Psy he’s a cop and lift that weight off his shoulder even if it’s for just a second. Ming wants to redeem himself and prove his girlfriend but also himself that he’s not that bad. Others before me have also commented on the buddhist notion of eternal hell so I won’t talk about it 🙂
The Departed lacked in that department. There’s no connection between the two main characters except for the fact they are moles. They’re almost portrayed as black and white. Especially Damon who doesn’t seem to have any nuance. He’s just bad till the end.
The Departed 8/10 Infernal Affairs 9/10