Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Merry Departed Day!

For most of you this won't mean too much, but today is the release date for Martin Scorsese's latest film The Departed and for this I feel like a review of the DVD is due.

The Departed

First off, the film is one of the best films of 2006. It is a remake of the 2002 Wai Keung Lau film Infernal Affairs, but to say that it is a remake is incorrect. It is more like a reinterpretation of the original film. There are some different characters, but more importantly, a whole different culture and life is portrayed here. There is a whole lot of difference between the streets of Hong Kong and the streets of South Boston. When this film premiered I was blown away. It is not only a great crime drama filled with some great villains and dialogue, but it is one of Martin Scorsese's best films in a decade or so.

It is filled with a great cast headed up by Scorsese's new De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Boston-native Matt Damon. The rest of the cast is filled with great character actors including Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, and Kevin Corrigan. I would say that the stand out performance are by the two leads, which unfortunately was not reflected by the Academy this year, but it is a competitive race and I am sure the other noms were deserved. I am rooting for Marky Mark in his race for Best Supporting Actor.

What I have been meaning to get to is the DVD release of the film. From a former employee of Warner Home Video, they release specific content for the different distributors. Two examples of this are a) Target, which gives a copy of the script and b) Best Buy, which gives a metal case and postcards. I have purchased the Target version, for which I would have chosen the other option if I knew about it before.

Disc One is the widescreen version of the film in its original aspect ratio, aside from the trailers for The Departed and other Warner Bros titles. The second disc, if you choose to buy it is where the real Scorsese fest comes in. There are the 9 deleted scenes all containing introductions by Martin Scorsese himself. Also they have included Stranger Than Fiction, a documentary on the adaptation of the real life gangsters of South Boston, Crossing Criminal Cultures, a documentary mostly on Scorsese's obsession with gangster films with using Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travlers and the cast and the technical advisers of The Departed. The last special feature is probably the best one, it is the documentary Scorsese on Scorsese. This was originally aired on Turner Classic Movies in late 2004 or early 2005, not sure to be exact. Anyways, this is an excellent documentary on the man behind the camera covering most of the information contained in his autobiographical book published first in 1989 and updated in 1996 and 2004 respectively. This will be a joy to watch for any Scorsese fan, or if you have seen if before, or own.

Check it out, rent it, buy it, do something to honor this man. It has been a great Departed day so far. Now here comes Valentine's Day, plan accordingly.


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