The Departed 
Friday, October 20, 2006, 02:31 PM
I watched The Departed the other day, an excellent film that is a remake of a Hong Kong blockbuster titled Infernal Affairs. I had previously seen Infernal Affairs and it was a pleasant surprise to see how closely The Departed tracked the original script. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I definitely recognized several conversations that were lifted directly from the Hong Kong original.

WARNING: Plot spoiler to follow
Despite the clearly demonstrated desire to stay true to the highly successful original, there were certain plot modifications made with an American audience in mind. Among them is the fate of Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon's character) at the end of the movie. Other than adding a little additional color, and brief moments of humor, the desire for some "positive" closure appears to be the sole reason for the inclusion of Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg's character), a character who was not in the original movie.

What really struck me towards the end of the film was the necessity of Billy Costigan's (Leonardo DiCaprio) death. I'm not a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, but I was quite surprised and impressed with how convincingly he played his character. There was a certain point where I realized that in the absence of some cheap trick by the scriptwriter, there was no way for Costigan to live happily ever after. The closest they could have come to a Hollywood ending would have been to have Dignam come in and somehow vouch for Costigan; fortunately it was not with this in mind that he was included in the script.

The one thing this remake was unable to capture was the strong father-son relationship between Costigan and Capt. Queenan. That relationship added a lot to Infernal Affairs and made the latter's death all the more affecting.

We are sorry. New comments are not allowed after 30 days.