I really fail to follow the enthusiasm of the critics about Martin Scorsese's new film "The Departed", a remake of the Hongkong Crime Thriller "Internal Affairs". It's the story of two cops and the attempts of the police force to get control over the powerful Irish Mafia.

One of the two cops works as an undercover agent in a Mafia organization (Costigan - Leonardo DiCaprio), the other (Sullivan - Matt Damon) as a policeman who informs to the Mafia. For some time they know about each other without meeting. Head of the "organization" is Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Costigan works his way into Costello's inner circle, Sullivan has to find the informer before things get out of hand. Each man has to work feverishly to reveal his counterpart.

Ekkehard Knoerer in Sign and Sight speaks of mirror-image doppelgangers, with two father figures on both sides, Costello and the head of the police department. Also, communication methods are similar - a lot of crucial information is transferred via cellphones. Additionally, they love the same woman, the police psychologist.

I cannot see a quality connection to - in the meantime almost legendary and intriguing - films like "Godfellas", "Taxi Driver" or "Raging Bull", "Gangs of New York", or the Dylan film "No Direction Home". It's quick, brutal, violent, to some extent entertaining, certainly a thriller - but what happened to aesthetics, to the psychological and fascinating camera work you could almost always take for granted with Scorsese? I heard the f-word about 150 times. Maybe that's why I couldn't find the humour and wit some of the critics praise.


For those who speak German:

There's now a digitalized edition of "Die Fackel", satirical magazine, edited and authored by the famous Austrian writer, playright, satirist, aphorist and journalist Karl Kraus ("The Last Days of Mankind"),from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. See also my blog in German, Junctions.


White Rose Boy said...

I've not seen this film but read a review of it last week.
I've noticed over recent years a lot of films (not all) get great reviews but are quite often a dissapointment in truth.
I also take your point about the use of the F-word, it can spoil a film when over used.

J de Leon said...

It's actually Infernal Affairs. I've only seen the original, and I was so blown away by it that I'm not at all interested in seeing the remake. I don't remember any love triangles in that one.

Anyway, I've only now seen the comment you left on my blog. Sorry, I don't check that one too often. Supposedly I'm writing my M.A. thesis right now, but in actuality I keep finding new ways to procrastinate. For instance, I heartily recommend you see Children of Men if you want to watch something that you can blog about later. You'll definitely want to start babbling about biopolitics after seeing that one.

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