Infernal Affairs – Great Source Material

Infernal Affairs – Great Source Material

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  1. Ever heard of a film called The Departed?  You probably have, seeing as how it was directed by one of the all-time greats, Martin Scorsese, and it won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2007 (along with 3 other Oscars).  Have you ever heard of a film called Infernal Affairs, though?  It is the 2002 Chinese crime thriller directed by Wai-keung Lau and Alan Mak that The Departed is based on.  It stands to reason that The Departed is as good as it is because of strong source material, right?

    What is it about?

    Infernal Affairs uses a simple but very interesting premise:  a mole for the mob in the police department squares off against a cop that goes undercover in the mob… each of them is supposed to find the other one.  That’s all you really need to know about the film’s story.  It’s pretty basic.  The mob plans to sell some cocaine to some Thai people and the cops are trying to take down the mob.  But the real story is about the mole for the mob trying to figure out who the undercover cop is and the undercover cop trying to find out who the mob’s mole in the police department is.

    You’ll have to watch it to find out what happens.  You may think that you already know what happens because you’ve seen The Departed… but you’d be wrong.  Infernal Affairs is slightly different and certainly worth the watch.

    Is it any good?

    Some people can’t deal with having to read subtitles for an entire film.  But, if you can get past that, Infernal Affairs is a good watch.  It is almost impossible to review this film without comparing it to The Departed (especially since The Departed is one of my favorite films ever) but, taking it on its own, Infernal Affairs is a very good film.  It’s stylishly directed with cool shots, great editing, and a story that is refreshingly simple but unique.  There are many films about a dirty cop or an undercover cop… but seldom do you see them together or see them hunt each other.  It’s good, tense stuff.

    Having seen The Departed first, Infernal Affairs seems like a less fleshed out version of The Departed.  It’s actually the opposite, though… The Departed is really a more fleshed out version of Infernal Affairs.  And "more fleshed out" refers to almost everything in the film; especially the characters.  The characters in Infernal Affairs are rather weak.  I didn’t empathize with them or really get to know them like I hoped to.  Also, the very beginning of the story makes very large jumps in time that make the film start off very unevenly.  It works itself out, though, and becomes a well-paced thriller.

    Nolan’s Grade:  B

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