Film Highlight: The Departed

Here to collect: Jack Nicholson in The Departed
courtesy of Warner Bros.
Here to collect: Jack Nicholson in The Departed

No studio director was a greater hero to the Hong Kong new wave than Martin Scorsese, who here returns the compliment by remaking Infernal Affairs, the strongest HK action film of the past few years. Its key dramatic roles assumed mainly by cell phones, Infernal Affairs is one of those rare movies in which the premise is the star. Scorsese, however, has necessarily packed his Boston-set remake with names: Matt Damon as a rogue cop, Leonardo DiCaprio as the cop's undercover counterpart, and, towering over both youngsters in a role that has been vastly inflated from the original film, Jack Nicholson as a patriarchal crime boss. Neither a debacle nor a bore, The Departed works, but only up to a point, and never emotionally—even if the director does contrive to supply his version of a happy ending. "I don't want to be a product of my environment," Nicholson's heavy boasts before appearing with stage blood up to his elbows. "I want my environment to be a product of me." Yeah, yeah, and that's the problem. (The band Dante and the Lobster perform before the screening at 11:45 p.m.).

 
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