Infernal Affairs (2002)

Original Title

無間道 Mou gaan dou


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Andrew Lau


Hong Kong


Andy Lau, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Chapman To, Gordon Lam, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng, Berg Ng, Wan Chi-keung, Dion Lam, Elva Hsiao, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue


Chan Wing Yan (Shawn Yue), a young police officer, has been sent undercover as a mole in the local mafia. Lau Kin Ming (Edison Chen), a young mafia member, infiltrates the police force. Years later, their older counterparts, Chen Wing Yan (Tony Leung) and Inspector Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau), respectively, race against time to expose the mole within their midst.


In the past months I've talked about this film a couple of times. It was always in relation to Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" which, in case you didn't know, is the American remake and one of the few times a remake is better than the original.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that "Infernal Affairs" is not a good film. Indeed it is a quite gripping and tense crime film that hasn't a lot to envy to its American copy.

First of all, the story is absolutely amazing. Even though the opening scenes where the characters start to settle down are a little confusing - using different actors for the same characters just to show time passing does not help -, the film features a gripping, simple yet smart story from the beginning, that not only is well written but also well told.

The main topic of the film is the contrast between good and evil, and is portrayed with its two main characters, their similarities and their moral obstacles. These two characters, Yan and Ming, are all you need to great a good film, and they have very well developed.

The reason why I do prefer Scorsese's to this one basically comes down to the supporting characters. Unfortunately "Infernal Affairs" doesn't feature any strong supporting character, and the female characters don't have a real purpose in the film other than being just the girlfriends.

The other reason is the dialogue. Even though Scorsese's was filled with cursing and profanities - and it's not only limited to the language -, it was more brilliant. This film indeed has quite simple dialogue.

As for the acting, the two leading actors, Tony Leung as the undercover cop and Andy Lau as the corrupted cop, both do a good job. A little side note on Leung though, his lack of charm makes it hard for you to root for his character.

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