Infernal Affairs (2002)

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Two cops face off against each other in a race against time to discover their respective identities; one honest, working within a drug runner’s gang and the other corrupt, working for the criminals within the police department.

The inspiration for The Departed, this is one of the seminal Asian crime dramas of the last few years. Well, ever in fact. My main problem with it is that I wish I’d seen it first. The difference between this and The Departed highlights the difference between Hong Kong and US movie-making in general; The Departed was full of colourful language, brutal violence and macho posturing, while this is a far more understated affair. Unfortunately this means that it is far more reliant on the twists and turns of the very cleverly written plot, and so anyone who has seen The Departed already will know what’s going to happen in advance. If viewed the other way round, one can still enjoy Scorsese’s reinterpretation of events with his colourful and characterful fleshing out of the story.

Infernal Affairs is certainly a quality piece of film-making, but I would seriously suggest to anyone who has seen neither to watch this one first.

7/10

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