“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 2004 / Director: Siu Fai Mak, Wai-keung Lau / Actors: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai ... / DVD released 28 June, 2004 at Tartan Video / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Dubbed, PAL „
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Infernal Affairs is possibly one of the most gripping, intelligent and well-made films I have seen in a very long time. The story is of two surprisingly similar men: a Triad mole in the police, and of an undercover officer in the Triads. Both are working for the other side, in an attempt to give the upper hand to their respective bosses. When a drug -smuggling deal goes down badly, each boss - the hard-boiled but loving Superintendent Wong played with a perfect straight face by Anthony Wong; and the vicious but cheeky Triad boss Sam played by Eric Tsang - knows that there is a mole in their departments. The race is on for cop Yan and mole Ming to find the other before it is too late.
I found the story to be gripping, with a huge "will-they-won't-they" tension at every minute, mixing in excellent thrills with just enough drama to add character. Two love interests are introduced into the story, the psychiatrist for Yan, as the only person he can speak to, and Ming's wife, who doesn't know of his involvement with the mob, as well as one more character May, who Yan knew before he became undercover, making her the only character aside from Yan and Wong who knows who Yan really is.
The film is not overly-violent, with only a couple of shooting scenes in the whole film as it chooses to focus more on the characterization of its main players and they how they all react from each other.
Infernal Affairs mixes in the romance and drama very well with the thrills, pulling the right emotional strings at just the right moments, aided by a beautiful score by Chan Kwon-Wing. The main theme of the film is not of Cops and Robbers, but of Identitiy, and who you really are in the world that forces you to be someone else.
A stunning piece of cinema, both visually and narratively. Highly recommended .
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Infernal Affairs is a great film, there is little doubting that, but I appear to be in the minority of people who think that Martin Scorsese's Best Picture-winning film The Departed actually managed to outdo the original film and be the rare remake that has improved on its source material. That isn't to discredit Infernal Affairs, though, because it's still a cracking film that has one main advantage over the remake: it doesn't concede to Hollywood formula with its devastating ending.
The film's protagonist is Chan Wing-Yan (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), a police officer who goes deep cover in the Triads, while a Triad member named Lau Kin-Ming (Andy Lau Tak-Wah) goes deep cover in the police force. Each man tries to smoke the other one out, making for some incredibly tense situations, and soon enough, the body count begins to rise as their battle of the moles becomes more and more intense. It's a genius premise, and a superb riff on the undercover cop genre, being more daring and original than the genre has been in years.
A superbly crafted film that usurps the conventions of the cop thriller and turns them upside down, Infernal Affairs is outdone by Scorsese's attempt, but is still a stunning film and one of the best cop thrillers in years. Perhaps the greatest thing about this film, aside from its smarts, is the fact that nobody is safe - by the end, unexpected characters are dead, some escape surprisingly, and it lacks the catharsis of mainstream Hollywood, and I mean all of this in the best way possible (and in particular in regard to the remake).
Would it be the original Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs or would it be the big budget Scorsese blockbuster The Departed. It became such a predicament that it required repeat viewings of both back to back to truly determine which was the better film. As you can already tell Infernal Affairs came up trumps, and that's not the say that The Departed isn't a great film because it is. A truly awesome cast who give equally awesome performances and its directed by my favourite director ever - thats gotta count for something.
In the end though it seems that all this just emphasises what a brilliant film Infernal Affairs is, if it could beat out a film with some of my favourite hollywood actors by my favourite hollywood director than this film has to be fricking awesome! and it is. Though it might not be as long as The Departed and it might not have as much action, its got true tension and atmosphere that create for an really great experience. It also has fantastic performances from all involved - especially Tony leung who is one of my favourite asian actors. Along with Andy Lau they really create the feeling of deceit and guilt/fear which is exactly what is needed for the story. Where as De Capiro screams and moans his way through his part making it all too obvious that he doesn't like his job Tony Leung uses subtle dialogue and expressions to make the feeling all the more meaningful.
The film is a great cat and mouse thriller and perfect cop drama that really keeps you guessing and on edge. With some awesome cinematography and scene placement Infernal Affairs becomes one of those films that proves Hollywood aren't always the best in the world. Sadly though i fear that Infernal Affairs will remain just another cult classic despite its praise from critics, award ceremonies and film fans alike.
A lot of you will already know this film is the "original" from which The Departed came. It was erroneously described as a Japanese film at the Oscars because it was actually made in Hong Kong and is based around the Triad movement in the city and their interaction with the police force.
The beginning of the film opens at the police academy and we are introduced to the two co-stars - one of whom is a triad and the other a young police cadet. Without giving the entire plot away, the two are not what they seem. Each is asked to be a mole in the other establishment so we are faced with the confusing situation of a policeman who is actually a Triad and a Triad who is actually a policeman. This allows for a fascinating plot throughout the film with lots of twists and turns as the police and the Triads both try to find out who the respective moles are.
The film is a fantastic example of Hong Kong film. I am a huge fan of films like this and have seen a great many of them but this one is by far the best film. It is slightly confusing at first but once underway, it is a film during which I felt guilty for blinking in case I missed something. I cannot recommend this film enough. It is an action-packed extravaganza that is perfect for an evening in without having to spend a fortune. Get this, get a pizza and you will have a fantastic night.
I rarely watch films more than a couple of times but this one I find myself coming back to time and time again. I am lucky enough to have all three of the films in the trilogy and I recommend this to everyone. Whether Triad films are your thing or not, if you have the slightest interest in crime drama/ thriller, you will like this film
A lot of us know that Infernal Affairs a.k.a Mou gaan dou is the movie that was remade by Martin Scorsese. I usually see the original, before I see the remakes, plus this one was on my must see list long before Scorsese's remake. I0t was hard to get hands on this one, but after Hollywood popularization, DVD's start raining even in Europe.
Story is fascinating. A crime boss sponsors some young boys, that they join the police force. Infiltrating the police, right from the start. Many years later, now the grown up men are in all sectors of the police, keeping crime boss stacked with information.
Simultaneously police chiefs decide to put one cadet on the streets, making him an informant for them. This man, also spend almost ten years under cover in various crime groups and triads.
But when one mission goes a little wrong, police and crime boss realize that they have an informant among them self. Suddenly you don't know who is the mouse and who is the cat. Booth trying to found out who the mole in their ranks is.
Story is set in a very urban infrastructure. Narrow streets and roof tops are helping to tell the story, interesting camera places and angles are making quite an impression.
All actors done their job excellent. While watching our corrupt cop (Andy Lau), you don't know if he is helping the police or his crime boss. Tony Leung Chiu Wai as policeman in the gang is a little neurotic almost kind a lost. Nothing that you would expect from some one who is under cover. And because he is under cover so long he is tired, and you can see how tired he is.
Directing and editing is great. Maybe director should give us some more drama, some more story how tuff the lives of our main character was. So it should be a little longer. Soundtrack is Chinese.
Movie with the unique story.
Mou gaan dou-
This is the gripping cop thriller that capulted the Hong Kong cinema from complete obscurity to an acknowledged place of cinema alongside Japan and South Korea. It became popular overseas that even a remake of the film was created, namely the Departed- which is not a chip on the original.
The film really did change my view on Hong Kong cinema, as I had the belief that the Hong Kong cinema could not reinvent themselves after a saturation of films that was released being all the same. I was utterly wrong. Gone are the gangs-gun films like The Killer, Hard Boiled, City on Fire, etc. The release of the film that met with instant success meant even more gangster-crime-thrillers from Hong Kong could be released to overseas with similar reaction.
The film is brimming to the edge with massive stars of Hong Kong itself- Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang and Edison Chen, their performances makes this film truly memorable.
This film has a distinct style which is different from Hollywood action cop-thrillers, it keeps its tension quite consistent throughout the film. I particularly liked how the director decided to zoom in particular moments concentrating on the actors' faces to see their reactions. However, I felt the film overused the slow-motion in certain scenes of the film which combined with the mechanoly soundtrack just made it a bit cheesy and unbearable to watch for a few seeconds.
The plot is seemingly complex to watch at first and you need to focus on every single second of this beginning, because if you miss one second of it, you will miss out the entire film as it goes along.
Now, the plot- It is quite a far-fetched idea that two men could spend their entire lives controlled by the cops and the baddies and still create an image that they're working for the opposite sides. Yuan is a gangster, having worked for 10 years working his way up to be one of trusted men for Sam, who is the 'boss'. Ming, he was inserted into the Police Academy and he's a police inspector so he has quite a lot of power. As the film goes along, it becomes evident of what the film is all about, and as it drags along, we begin to feel for the two men, we want both men to succeed, or get away alive. But we know this won't be happening. Even though, you know the most important people in the film are going to perish, you are still shocked deeply when it is revealed who dies.
Just thought i would have a gander at the reviews given for this film, and to my horror i have discovered that there a none. It is a shock as this has to be one of my favourite films, and definatly in my top ten. Ok so first point that must be made about this, is that it is the film that The Departed is based on. It annoys me when people believe that to be an amazing film (and it is a good one), but do not realise that there is an original. It has a different setting, being in Hong Kong not long after the independence from the UK. However the story is pretty much the same. The acting is superb and its one of the cleaverist films out there. Its well writen, which was noticed by Scorsese as there are many of the 'one liners' from Infernal Affairs that made it into the Departed. On the whole it is an amazing film, which not many people know about. If you like The Departed, watch this and prepare to be amazed.
With Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong filmmakers Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak have successfully taken a smart script and a great cast, added some stylistic cinematography, and dual-fistedly given a new twist to a formulaic genre. Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), a young, loyal gangster, is ordered by his Triad boss Sam (Eric Tsang) to join the police force. While on the inside the young mole can keep a close eye on police activity, ensuring the gang's activities will not be interrupted. Police Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) has a similar plan. He takes a bright, ambitious police cadet Yan (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and makes him an undercover cop with plans to get him inside the Triads. Years pass and both are now deep into their assigned roles. Undercover cop Yan, more or less living the life of a gangster, is now a member of Boss Sam's group, and "Officer" Lau has all the appearance of a good cop trying to bust up the Triads' drug ring. During a bust that could finally bring down Boss Sam, the moles inadvertently become aware of each other's existence, and each is left wondering who is on the inside. What follows is a unique and exciting twist on the classic cat and mouse chase in which each man is not fighting for his life, but for his anonymity. In addition to its plot twists, what lifts Infernal Affairs above the standard cop story is its subtle exploration of the relative nature of good and evil. Part action, part psychological examination, Infernal Affairs is a sharp and fresh take on the classic crime story, and the inspiration for a 2006 Martin Scorsese remake (The Departed). Not to be missed. --Rob Bracco