Infernal Affairs

dir. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's twisty thriller about two undercover moles (superstars Tong Leung Chiu-wai and Andy Lau) who engage in a deadly and intricate game of cat-and-mouse served as the basis for Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning The Departed.

A box-office smash in Hong Kong, where it was hailed as a revitalization of what many viewed as the moribund state of post-handover Hong Kong cinema, Infernal Affairs surpasses its incurably goofy English-language title (the far more distinguished original-language title is The Unceasing Path) and establishes itself as a modern masterpiece of the crime thriller. Superstars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Andy Lau (not to be confused with the film's director Andrew Lau) play a pair of undercover moles who, unbeknownst to each other, have burrowed their way deep into the other's organization over a number of years: cop Leung into a triad society, triad member Lau into the police department. When the two men realize each other's existence and true mission, they engage in a deadly and intricate game of cat-and-mouse, each man trying to root out the other before his own cover gets blown. Deliciously twisty and shot with a striking visual sheen, Infernal Affairs was followed by two sequels and was remade in the US by Martin Scorsese as The Departed, which went on to win Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards.