Infernal Affairs

Film, Drama

Time Out says

Undercover cops posing as triad gangsters have been staple figures in HK cinema since Alex Cheung's Man on the Brink (1980, sort-of remade by Andrew Lau in 1994 as To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui), but this huge domestic hit goes one better by twinning its fake triad cop (Leung) with a triad mole in the police force (Lau). Each mole is answerable to the other's nominal boss (Wong and Tsang respectively), leading to tactical complications and a lot of genuine suspense as each side tries to outwit the other over a shipment of dope from Thailand. There's no hint of an auteur sensibility at play, but the careful plotting, rich characterisations and sleek mise-en-scène give this an impact rarely seen in HK films these days. Leung is outstanding as a man close to mental and physical breakdown, and Lau's cocky narcissism is exploited more cunningly than usual. The Chinese title invokes the lowest circle of Buddhist hell, a fair indication of how noir things get.


Release details

100 mins

Cast and crew

Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
Felix Chong, Alan Mak
Eric Tsang
Sammi Cheng
Andy Lau
Anthony Wong
Tony Leung Leung Chiu-Wai
Kelly Chen