Infernal Affairs (2002) – A critical review

Infernal Affairs tells the story of two graduates of the police academy and how
their lives took a different path the moment they became police officers. A film
with a brilliant plot written and co-directed by Alan Mak, is not your classic
police and thieves story. Andrew Lau’s vision of this story really adds drama in
the story. Basically one officer became undercover from day one. We watch his
life in about 10 years after being an undercover cop. Only two know of his  real
identity. One of them is the police chief and Superintendent Wong Chi Shing
who gives Chen Wing Yan, the undercover cop, a last job.

The second man, inspector Lau Kin Ming, graduates the police academy and is to
become the cleanest cop ever in the department, also one of the most successful.
The only flaw here is that when he graduated the academy he also started
working for the mob. He swore among others to the big boss Hon Sam brilliantly
played by Eric Tsang. It happens though that the undercover cop has infiltrated
the same gang as the one inspector reports in.

When a cocaine deal between the mob and a Thai dealer is about to go down due
to Yan’s work, inspector Lau is trying to disorient the police task force. It’s then
that both sides figured out that there is a mole among them. On both sides.

Hearing that the movie inspired Martin Scorsese’s The Departed a remake of
this brilliant plot and adapt it to a crime thriller based in Boston instead of
Hong Kong, made me want to watch Infernal Affairs. The Departed is one of
my favourite movies, but I really don’t appreciate that just because it was
produced with the biggest names in Hollywood, it received a Academy Award
for Best Picture. Infernal Affairs is a slow paced, strong thriller with amazing
shots and innovative direction.

The “party”starts when the inspector is assigned by the CIB (I suppose the IA
department of the police) to find the mole among them. Instead he uses him time
to find out who is the superintendent’s man in the gang. He didn’t play it very
safe though and repercussions are to come. On the other side Yan, who took
some safety measures has realised that there is mole in the police and tries to
find him out. Yan has told his story to the nice psychologist before the mayhem
started. A dead slow thrilling mole hunt starts and there is no happy ending.

This movie show’s us what it could be really happening in undercover situations
and how each side will protect their own. How tough a situation becomes
between these two worlds. Even though the plot is quite linear, Alan Mak and
Felix Chong twisted it to the edges!

Brilliant movie, great acting! I guess I will be watching the prequel and the
sequel soon. A proof of course for the success is that it ispired the great Scorsese
thriller that hit the top by winning an Academy Award. Recommended!

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