Monday, February 24, 2014

Film Review: Infernal Affairs (2002)

Infernal Affairs (Review)
China/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Vivendi)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...I refused to take my eyes off the screen for even a second."

Police officer Chan Wing-yan (Tony Leung) goes undercover into a triad ran by boss Sam (Eric Tsang), while Sam plants a mole, triad member Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau), into the police force.

Filled with surprises at every corner, Infernal Affairs is a film best watched with little known prior to your first viewing. So, I'll keep the synopsis to a minimum, and I'll avoid spoilers. The basic premise is the police infiltrating a triad, and vice versa. This concept holds well for the runtime of the film, delivering pure suspense and thrills consistently. Themes of loyalty, betrayal, and morals are evident. This tense thriller leads to an unexpected ending -- this is how you close a film, and other filmmakers should take notes.

Infernal Affairs is a Chinese crime thriller. It starts off a bit rough, with a lot of information to immediately absorb. However, the film straightens out quickly for a smooth ride. There are many suspenseful and tense moments -- these set pieces are masterfully executed to keep you at the edge of your seat, and they come often. In fact, the film is so engaging and twisted, I refused to take my eyes off the screen for even a second. The film is ferociously paced without filler, so it reached it's amazing conclusion quickly. It's the complete package, from beginning to end.

Tony Leung and Andy Lau plays opposites, and they excel with believable performances and strong screen presence. Eric Tsang plays mob boss, while Anthony Wong plays Superintendent -- both play their roles excellently. The music is great, aiding greatly in creating authentic suspense and tension. The film is also beautifully shot, especially during its set pieces. Andrew Lau and Alan Mak direct Infernal Affairs, and the pair deliver a masterfully-told suspense thriller. On the technical side, the film is exceptional.

Overall, Infernal Affairs had me hooked from beginning to end. It's a film that delivers a masterfully written narrative, with amazing suspense and tension, and a fantastic cast. This is a cinematic masterpiece, and one of the best crime thrillers China has to offer.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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