For decades, Hong Kong was the third largest movie industry in the world (after Hollywood and Bollywood) and it always had its own very distinctive style. However, after the financial crisis of 1997, their output had drastically decreased and Hong Kong lost its place as a movie powerhouse. Internal Affairs was officially credited as reviving Hong Kong’s cinema and has also been one of the most succesfull movies in Asia in recent memory. If you have ever seen Martin Scorsese’s the departed and liked that movie, then this movie is a must-see, because this the original movie from which that film was based.
A hong-kong drama-crime movie, Infernal Affairs is a riveting police drama about a cat and mouse game between a police mole Chan Wing-yan (Tony Leung) who works as an undercover agent in the Triads (Chinese maffia) and a triad mole Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau), who infiltrated the police force as a young cadet to help the triads to stay one step ahead of the police. They both worked their way up the ranks and are now both in powerful positions. They are working against each other as both are trying to discover each others identity. This movie has constant tension never really lets up, but it does it in a very clever way that never requires any of the big action scene’s or massive shout-outs that is always so prevalent in other crime-movies. Its just a classically and well done crime-triller.
One interesting thing to note about this movie, is that directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak very cleverly used the wife of police inspector Lau Kin-ming as a semi-narrative to the story. She is writing her own book throughout the movie and often refers back to her yet unfinished book as though she is narrating the story of her own husband, police inspector Lau Kin-ming through the main character she is writing about. Is my main character really a good guy? or is he bad?