The Academy Awards can seriously put a gun to its own head. When Best Picture of 2006 was announced to be The Departed, I had thought maybe this Hollywood adaptation of Infernal Affairs might offer something beyond the stars to earn itself the industry’s highest accolade. After all, Infernal Affairs was a darn pretty good show to match.
You know what’s coming. I sat down to watch The Departed, only to get up again. The whole movie, from start to finish, is almost an exact duplicate of Infernal Affairs. There was a plausible addition to the ending to wrap things up and ensured that a second ‘departing’ would not be made. Still, a little nip and tuck here doesn’t warrant the highest prize, not to mention The Departed also bagged Best Director. What was there to direct when you have the textbook version screening in your very own home theater?
We’ve seen book adaptations win Best Picture (Lord of the Rings, The Patient), and musical adaptations as well (Chicago). But an adaptation of another movie? If The Departed deserves a shiny, golden statue, then Infernal Affairs should get one too. I don’t see anyone inviting Hong Kong to Hollywood.