Sunday, September 18, 2005

Infernal Affairs

Review by Michael Jaffe

I know this review isn’t of a recent release, but I haven’t been to the theatre in a while with school starting, so I decided to write a review of one of my favorite films from this century. In 2002, I rented Infernal Affairs because it had been getting a big buzz because of all the money it was making in Hong Kong. The movie is without a doubt, the slickest film I have ever seen, and unlike many American films that try to be slick, and are; this film uses the style and the helicopter shots to enhance the story as a whole. In the film Eye see You, Sly Stallone does not make such a good film with the camera slides and glides. The plot is straightforward, but it is executed to the point where if you blink you miss something and get confused. A mole for the police in the mob, Chan Yan, brilliantly underplayed by Tony Leung Chiu Wai, has been undercover for over a decade. His counterpart Lau Ming, acted by Andy Lau with his usual glee, is a mole for the Mob in the police force. The movie starts with a basic intro of how they each got in their positions with a series of flashes to who is who. We see Sam, played viciously by comedian Eric Tsang, welcoming the new recruits, Lau is among them. We also see SP Wong, played by Hong Kong film legend Anthony Wong, interviewing a young Chan. The plot then goes to when the men are grown and deep undercover. When one of Sam’s drug deals goes wrong, both sides discover they each have moles. Chan and Lau are assigned by their undercover employers to fish out the mole. This intense game of cat and mouse goes until the exciting surprise rooftop face-off to conclude the film. Andrew Lau’s direction, no relation to Andy Lau, covers the basic plot, but keeps the pace moving quickly, but you still never feel rushed, the action just flows from scene to scene. The suspense is at most times taught; even when the film tends to wander off just to add frames to the roll, you are still wondering what will happen. It is not a John Woo shooter for those who think of the blaze of guns in all Hong Kong films, nor is it one of Wong Kar-Wai’s slow romance films, but it blends a bit of both worlds while at the same time creating its own, new genre of Hong Kong thriller. The constant tension is what keeps this well scripted, incredibly acted and sharply directed film in place as one of the best films ever to come out of Hong Kong. 9/10

1 comment:

Sean said...

You should write about the other Asian movie that was good, the one about the girl who puts needles through that old guy's eyelids for no apparent reason. That was tight.

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