Infernal Affairs (2002)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2010-10-31
Summary: Hell on earth
One way that fans of Hong Kong action movies and fans of Italian opera are similar is that they both get asked the same question: "Which (movie/opera) is best for someone who is unfamiliar with the genre. The form of the answers are different, of course, since opera is best seen and heard live, although there are more than enough recordings to go around and movies are meant to be played back on a screen. When asked about opera my default response is generally "La Boheme": it is short, has recognizable tunes, many of which have been used in cartoons or commercials, has great characters and one would have to have a very hard heart not to shed a tear at the end. I may have stumbled upon an answer for the Hong Kong movie question at least for modern action/police films. A person with whom I worked had seen "The Departed" and liked it. I loaned her "Infernal Affairs" and she loved it.

Which makes a lot of sense. "Infernal Affairs is an amazing action and suspense film full of edge of the seat, heart in the mouth moments with outstanding performances by a stellar cast--an ensemble cast full of movie stars. At the same time it has a subtext (barely sub) rooted in the Avici hell of Buddhism, its characters trapped in a microcosm of the endless karmic cycles of death and rebirth into a world of pain and suffering that ends only when one's unwholesome karma has been completely depleted. Since everyone on both sides of the law--or is that even an issue here?--in "Infernal Affairs" have lives of deceit, rage hatred they will be plunged even further into hopeless depths of Hell.

"Infernal Affairs" is a great movies and one of the best produced anywhere during the 1990s.
Reviewer Score: 10