April – Infernal Affairs

An extremely late post, for a film that I viewed in April, now I’m only two months behind in my cinema shame.

The story for “Infernal Affairs” was highly original (unless this has been done in prior films let me know), instead of a getting one side of the story in which a mole is in an organization and we just see his side of the story, we actually have two moles in dueling organizations. Instead of watching one rat go through the maze, we get to see two rats go through the maze and meet in the middle. The film is extremely fast paced, probably the fastest, I’ve seen with such a complex plot, especially within a 100 minute time period. If there is any fat on this film, it involves the romantic aspects which are high on the melodrama, which doesn’t mix well with the high intensity of the film. I don’t mind melodrama, but it just feels out of place to the rest of the film even if it does help build up Chan as a character. Hong Kong’s skyline is beautifully shot, creating a sense of false safety, high above all the daily ins and outs of cops and drug dealers. While I give high praise to this story for being inventive original, it does have some issues. The characters were uneven, from the beginning Chan was never on equal ground, he never had a chance of getting out. Chan’s risk was so high compared to what Lau could have potentially faced. This could have been the writer’s intent or an overall aspect of the story, but it removed some tension from the film. Maybe as a viewer we were supposed to see Lau was on higher ground but he couldn’t reach Chan’s moral level. I wanted more of the psychological impact of Chan being under cover, the scenes with the psychologist didn’t even touch on the potential impact. A quality film, that I recommend, but I believe “The Departed” is a superior version, in certain aspects. An issue with “The Departed” (going from memory of seeing this film 5 years ago) is the focus on Nicholson’s character, which takes away from the story between the two main characters. The run time difference is amazing in which “The Departed” has nearly 51 minutes more than “Infernal Affairs” (so probably an extra 45 minutes excluding credits), but tells the same story.

 

6.5 out of 10

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