Review: The Departed

The original Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs (and to some extend, the two pre/sequels) garnered critical acclaims when it was released (praised as that years best movie), and it was bound to spread around the world. However, before the import DVD arrived here, Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B already snatched the right for a remake, and hence, I waited for the Hollywood version (saves you a lot of time, just like I do with written literature).
Was it worth the wait ? Yeah, it’s a good movie. But not the gem everyone was talking about when referring to the original. For starters, the beginning is chaotic, and filled with light-hearted banter. The original and remade title made me think it was a darker drama. But as time goes by (and clocking in at two and a half hour, there’s enough of that), the focus is indeed dark drama (with Leonardo DiCaprio getting the meaty role, the only one with real issures). As the tension grows, the cat and mouse game is far ahead of the cliches we’ve seen so many times already. The dichotomy built inside the story creates an intriguing atmosphere, but as I had my reservations for the sloppy start, the end is even worse. This way, I can’t call it a gem like I would call Michael Mann’s Heat, but it’s definitely one of the better movies of this year, and the star-powered ensemble cast is nifty (but not totally necessary).8-.

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