Monday, October 23, 2006

Departed after Take The Lead

Watching Departed to me is like watching The Da Vinci Code. Having read the book, I felt that I am obliged to watch the movie. Same as Departed. Having watched the Infernal Affair, which happened to be one of the best HK movie these few years, I felt that I have to see how Hollywood churn out their version. Of course, one cannot help but comparing the two version. However, I told myself to keep my mind open as scorsese will not copy the HK version.

Just like the HK version, the supporting cast stole the limelight most of the time, as did Jack Nicholson here (HK version's Eric Tsang). However I think Martin Sheen's character was being reduced to minimal unlike HK's version Anthony Wong's. Particularly I miss the tension when these 2 rivals share the screen in HK version whereby in Departed, both only meet each other almost in the final part of the movie with Mark Wahlberg being thrown in as well. Another suporting cast I found brilliantly played is Alec Baldwin. Maybe his Emmy-earning performance in Will and Grace keeps lingering in my mind I think.

Worth mentioning is Scorsese's combination of the 2 female characters into one in Departed. I personally find that it's refreshing. It's also simpler since the focus is more on the male lead, hence saving some screen time for the more core plot, so-to-speak.

Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio as Andy Lau and Tony Leung. Not a fans of Damon, I think he played his part good enough. And so do DiCaprio.

In general I thought it's an entertaining piece of movie, purportedly to be Scorsese's last work on gang triad. Having said that, Infernal Affair still triumps with its rich pretext and portrayal of the traditional HK/Chinese triad. It's rich image and subtext on the Buddhism iconism is really a rare and exquisite in recent HK cinema.

I always find myself subconsciously drawn to some feel-good cum inspirational stories. Based on a true story on Mr. Dulanie, Take The Lead is a simple predictable-in-some-familiar way kinda movie. Helmed by Antonio Banderas, he's basically the only recognisable famous face besides Alfre Woodard of Desperate Housewives fame. The story is decently good enough for an inspirational piece which draw out some memory of other films such as Save the Last Dance for Me and Shall We Dance (though both focused more on the individual conflict) and I will take it as the dance version of Music of the Heart (one played by the ever brilliant Meryl Streep and Gloria Estefan).

Enjoyable though Banderas' Spanish accent and charm can come across as unfathomable sometime.


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