Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Too Little, Too Late

So, The Departed won best picture, does this mean that Infernal Affairs, a much richer more compact telling of the same story with greater visual flare, is some kind of ultimate achievement in movie making? I'd guess not.

Trust me, I was looking forward to The Departed, Scorsese making a crime drama about an insular community in a big city, who wouldn't be? And after watching it I felt it was a good film, but I had a hankering to rewatch Infernal Affairs afterwards and so I did and so it made me angry. It's simply better on every level, even with the atrocious dubbing work of the English version, Jack Nicholson's performance, rightly lauded as just the right side of scenery chewing, being an almost singular exception. Alec Baldwin also manages to do quite a lot with very little but that seems to be his modus operandi these days. Matt Damon is no Andy Lau and Leo isn't anywhere near being Tony Leung. There's a scene in TD where Leo is telling the psychiatrist just how tortured he is and his voice just goes really, really whiny. You are, I suppose, meant to feel some sympathy, but you just want to laugh in his face and tell the brat to grow a pair. Leung, on the other hand, manages to look tortured and conflicted with just a shrug. The less said about the ending the better, but the moral ambiguity, and hope for redemption, of IA is all but wiped out by a Hays Code ending.

In a review of Silent Hill, Penny Arcade opined:
"You might have seen people say that this was a good movie, or a faithful representation of the game, and I would urge you to disregard anything those people say in the future about movies or, indeed, any other subject."

I feel the same way about Infernal Affairs and The Departed, The Departed is a good film, and may even be the best American film of the year, but anyone who suggests it's an improvement on the original should have their views on movies, any movie, regarded as suspect from now on.

Scorsese seems to be becoming the Hollywood equivalent of Bob Dylan where each new work is hailed as is best since some critical milestone and the inadequacies of his recent work is suddenly exposed by this latest "return to form", leaving a long line over over-hyped mediocore product and disappointed fans.

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