Monday, October 10, 2011

Remaking Films Across Langauge Lines

When I saw Infernal Affairs it was the first time I'd seen a non-English language film knowing that there was a remake and thinking that if I was only going to see one it might have been a better idea to see Hollywood's version (Scorsese's The Departed). There's no doubt that Infernal Affairs effectively milks its ostensibly ludicrous premise for enough tension to give you hypertension and that Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is as terrific as ever. However the dialogue is rarely more than functional (or, at least, the subs are), the women are never more than plot/thematic devices (an issue somewhat fixed by the sequal) and the slow-mo black and white flashbacks are often either cloying or unnecessary. These are all areas in which it is often said that the Scorsese version excels: there's a lot of talk about its colourful Boston slang, Vera Farmiga is apparently given a chance to shine and well, Scorsese is Scorsese.