The Departed/Internal Affairs Film Comparison

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The Departed, a film directed by Martin Scorsese, won an Oscar for Best Picture, as well as 3 other Academy Awards. The story however, is based on a 2002 Hong Kong film directed by Wai-keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak, Mougaan dou; better known to us as Infernal Affairs. The similarities between these two crime/drama/thrillers are great. In The Departed, director Martin Scorsese takes the story into his own style of storytelling, but the adaptation of the screenplay originally written by director Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong is almost identical to the screenplay by William Monahan adapted for The Departed. The key overall difference between the two films can be attributed to their setting. Infernal Affairs, based in Hong Kong, was adapted or “Americanized” to fit American customs and situations, namely the situation in south Boston with the Irish mafia “some time ago.” Neither film specifies an exact historical era. There is an equivalent to most Infernal Affairs characters in The Departed: you have the mole in the Hong Kong IAU (internal affairs unit), Inspector Lau Kin Ming, played by Andy Lau, who is the equivalent to Matt Damon’s role as the mole in the Boston State Police, Colin Sullivan; there’re the undercover cops, Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung Chi Shing) and William Costigan Jr. (Leonardo Di Caprio); there’s the boss of the Hong Kong mafia (the Triads), Hon Sam (Eric Tsang), and the Irish mafioso, Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). The head of the Boston State Police is Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen), who is mirrored after SP Wong Chi Shing (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang). There is no real equivalent to Mark Walberg’s character, Staff Sgt. Dignam, but I’m glad they added him. The two films share similar style and techniques; however it is easy to distinguish Scorsese’s directing. Both films make good use of moving shots, which only add to the liveliness of the action. The Departed has virtually no special effects at all, using editing to only to cut and colour correct....
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