A thrilling crime drama which is high on style and backed with depth and intelligence, Infernal Affairs takes a close look at the blurry line between cop and criminal, and the duality of man.
Infernal Affairs stars Andy Lau as Inspector Lau Kin Ming, a police officer promoted to the Internal Affairs division, who in actuality a criminal that works for Triad boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang). In Hon Sam’s gang is Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai), an undercover cop who, after 10 years of undercover work – 3 of those in Hon Sam’s gang – wants out.
After a cocaine deal goes bust, both sides know that they have a mole within their ranks. Both Lau Kin Ming and Chan Wing Yan have been ordered to flush the other out.
Infernal Affairs seems to go by in an instant, with Wai-keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak’s fast, fluid direction and sweeping camera movement reminiscent to the directorial styles of Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese. Currang and Danny Pang provide slick editing, the highlight being the opening montage which fills us in on the main characters back story.
Siu Fai Mak and Felix Chong have written an excellent screenplay that is filled with great characters and plot twists that will keep you on your feet.
The cast in turn deliver exceptional performances. Andy Lau is great as the conflicted cop, taking on the films main theme of continuous suffering with a multi-layered and emotional confronting, yet extroverted acting exhibition. His character goes down paths which ask him to make gut wrenching, heart breaking decisions in regards to the people around him.
Equally impressive is Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, as the cocaine chipping, therapy participating undercover cop whose life has passed him by whilst playing someone else.
Eric Tsang plays the ruthless gangster well, and Anthony Wong Chau-sang is excellent as the respected and determined SP Wong Chi Sing.
The one flaw in Infernal Affairs is the undercooked romantic relationship between the films leading men and their respective partners. These relationships are under developed and seldom used as a conduit to probe deeper into the minds and souls of these men. The relationship between Yan and his therapist Dr. Lee Sume Yee (Kelly Chen) in particular seems forced and tacky.
A great entry into the crime genre, Infernal Affairs places China on the map as a credible and reliable source for gangster films, leaving the Americans and the British in the dust for now.