East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Monday, January 22, 2007

How the hell did The Departed win the Film Comment poll?

OK, when you watched Infernal Affairs, maybe you had a migraine, or your wife had just left you, or the couple behind were slinging Cantonese slapdowns at Andy Lau. I can understand how an individual could prefer The Departed to Infernal Affairs. But for a group as learned as the Film Commentators to anoint The Departed as 2006's top dog, when two years ago Infernal Affairs placed 34th, is bewildering. They showed the whole trilogy at the NYFF that year, so you'd think most of their writers would've seen it, and if any electorate could compare fairly movies in different languages, it'd be this one.

This is the kind of oddity that leads me to distrust the demonstrably useful auteur theory. Or maybe it's just that a lot of Film Comment's writers wouldn't know good acting if Tony Leung held a gun to their heads.

The end-of-year poll with the most impressive list of participants was the LA Weekly's (they even nabbed Manohla Dargis, usually barred by the Times from participating in such things); perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, they were also the only poll to crown the correct winner.

CLARIFICATION: The Departed is a pretty good movie, despite that final shot that's hopefully a gag but more likely is mindwipingly banal, and Nicholson adds to more scenes than he wrecks. I'd even go as far as to hope Marty gets his Oscar for this, if only because Clint owes him one.


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