|Fig 1 - Infernal Affairs Poster|
I certainly have mixed feelings about this one. I went in completely blind to it's content and was pleasantly surprised by the rapid Edgar Wright-style pacing that sets up the scenario. In addition, the subject matter and choices of setting reminded me of a directorial mash-up between Christopher Nolan and the Wachowski's of The Matrix (1999) fame (which on paper sounds like a dream come true). However, as strong as the leads are, their ties to exterior characters would have benefited more from further establishment than we get. For instance, Chen and Wong have a meeting in the beginning in which Chen is complaining about how long the undercover job has been extended over the years, which ends with Wong giving him a watch as a birthday gift. Lau also has a girlfriend at home who is writing a novel which parallels his own actions, with scenes in which she deliberates over whether or not her main character is good or bad. These relationships ultimately feel void of emotional value as they are shown few and far between the larger investigation plot, making both Chen and Lau feel somewhat disposable in the grand scheme of things.
|Fig 2 - Infernal Affairs - Chen|
Overall, the film's satisfyingly bleak ending and at times Nolan-esque execution somewhat excuses the clunky editing and questionable soundtrack cues. However, Infernal Affairs suffers from an underlying lack of emotional engagement with it's leads, making their fates ultimately unworthy of audience devotion. However, the cinematography and set designs are carefully considered, feeling almost ahead of their time, which saves the film from falling into obscurity.
Fig. 1 Infernal Affairs Poster (2002) From: Infernal Affairs - Directed by: Wai-Keung Lau & Alan Mak
Fig. 2 Infernal Affairs Screenshot (2002) From: Infernal Affairs - Directed by: Wai-Keung Lau & Alan Mak