Today’s Lockdown Rewatch is Martin Scorsese’s 2006 taut crime drama The Departed – based on a nail-biting script by William Monahan (which earned him a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar). Hollywood big hitters Jack Nicholson, Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg fill out the star packed cast, helping the movie to take home four Oscars (out of five noms) at the 79th Academy Awards, making it the most successful contender that year.
But did you know…
1) The Departed shares enough plot and stylistic similarities with Andrew Lau’s 2002 Hong Kong crime drama Infernal Affairs that most viewers think it’s a direct remake, or at best a “remodel” (hence the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar rather than Best Original Screenplay). Scorsese frames it slightly differently: “Infernal Affairs’ is a very good example of why I love the Hong Kong Cinema, but The Departed is not a remake of that film,” he said. “Our film was inspired by Infernal Affairs because of the nature of the story. However, the world Monahan created is very different from the Hong Kong film. Lau wryly commented that he thinks the “Hollywood version” of his film is “pretty good”, but he prefers his own.
2) Scorsese used Xs to foreshadow character deaths in the film. You can see them clearly in shot in key scenes with ill-fated characters – on walls, on scraps of paper, as bridge struts, building supports etc.
3) In this clip we see Nicholson’s Frank Costello threaten DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan. In an unscripted moment Nicholson went full method when he pulled out a real gun. Neither Scorsese nor DiCaprio knew about it ahead of filming the scene, and the latter’s reaction was captured on screen right then and there. “He didn’t tell me he had a gun” said Scorsese. “It was great. We took a lot out, but Leo’s reaction is real-time. I still get chills, when Nicholson says, ‘I smell a rat.’”