• James Rutherford

'Infernal Affairs': The Electrifying Hong Kong Crime Thriller that Inspired 'The Departed'


Movie poster for the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs starring Tony Chiu-Wai Leung

“Infernal Affairs” (2002) is a forceful and compelling crime thriller from Hong Kong starring Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as Chan Wing Yan, a police officer operating undercover within the Chinese Triad. Unbeknownst to Chan, Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau) has simultaneously infiltrated the Hong Kong Police Force in order to feed confidential information to his crime boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang).


Chan relays vital details of illegal Triad activities to his comrades in the police, though Lau is able to intercept his transmission and deter a major bust on their operations. This interchange quickly alerts both men of the others' existence—and each is quickly assigned to the identification of the opposing mole. This dramatic twist of fate sets both men on a race against time, as they both scramble to cover their tracks while hunting each other down—desperate to eliminate one another and evade detection.


Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, "Infernal Affairs" is a dynamic and absorbing tale of intrigue that delivers genuine thrills and provocative turns. Lau and Mak bring razor-sharp direction to fore, with major doses of intelligence, intensity and panache. Remade by Martin Scorsese several years later as the Academy Award-winning "The Departed", “Infernal Affairs” stands on its own two feet as a grade-A thriller and one of the finest products of Asian cinema over the past 20+ years.

 

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