Infernal Affairs – Hong Kong’s spy-themed crime film has been hugely successful both commercially and artistically,
Fans of the Hong Kong crime film series must all know Infernal Affairs– Hong Kong’s spy-themed crime film, which was released in 2002. The success was both commercial and artistic, the film is seen as a flourishing step for Hong Kong cinema as it is in a crisis of creative ideas. With a tight and dramatic story to every moment, the human philosophy is cleverly integrated with scenes that have become legendary, Infernal Affairs completely deserves this success.
Infernal Affairs tells the story of two people like two sides of a coin – police officer Chan Wing-yangoes undercover into a triad under the gang boss, Hon Sam, and the gangster Lau Kin-mingarranged by Hon Sam himselfas an insider inside the police force. Throughout the film is a battle between two forces to eliminate the spy in their sides and destroy the enemy. The speed is intensive with a series of tense battle scenes, plans in plans, so thorny and trembles with excitement that the audience is unable to take their eyes off, because if you do not follow up closely you may not keep up with the film. The script is extremely tight, reasonably developed and does not go into the path of the Hong Kong crime film series. However, for those who are already familiar with currentmind-tricking films, Infernal Affairs is still quite easy to understand and follow.
Obviously, if there were only mind-tricking and action scenes, Infernal Affairs would not be so highly artistic. What has created the humanity in the film is the story of two people tormenting their ego. Police officer Chan Wing-yan sunk deeply into the role of a gangster that he gradually wondered if he was still a police officer. Having suffered from miserable pain, losing the opportunity to have a normal family, there were times when he was wavering about the gang members’ bromance, but he still struggles to the last moment to protect his police ego. Meanwhile, Lau Kin-ming is concerned with the desire to shake off his sinful past. He wants to be a person who can proudly raise his face but does not know if he can remove his past sin. The inner contradictions piled up with the development of carefully crafted characters are immensely refined in the middle of the intense intellectual scene, making the film go beyond the stature of a common crime film, becoming a profound work about human life and ego.
The English-translated film name is Infernal Affairs, a kind of matching game from Infernal with the word Internal affairs. However, the name cannot describe the spirit of Buddhist philosophy of the film, as well as not express all the implications of the original name. Infernal Affairs is another name for Aviciin Buddhism, the most miserable hellish realm. The sinner who falls into this prison cannot die, every moment that passes is the ultimate depravity. For Chan Wing-yan and Lau Kin-ming, the days of being an insider inside the enemy is also the prison of Avici. Life may be disturbed or threatened, but what torments them the most terribly is the feeling of gradually no longer knowing who they are. Their lives from the very beginning were not decided by themselves. Even if they had struggled to choose their own path and seemed to have achieved their own wishes, the end for both of them could not be complete.
The ending shows this idea very clearly. Lau Kin-mingis the one who continueshis life, and seems to be able to become the person he’s wanted. But in the end, the origin of sin has been formed, so his past is something undeniable, and he would have to live with it for the rest of his life. He still has a very long life ahead, but like the quote of Nirvana in the film, “longevity is also an exile”, his life ahead will be tormented until the end with the question: Is Senior InspectorLau now his true self, or is it still a temporary cover hiding his dark past?
In addition to the excellent script, the writer also highly appreciatesInfernal Affairs by the subtlety of every small detail. Most modern Hong Kong films are often crammed with dramatic lines, exaggerated dramatic episodes, and try to take the audience’s tears seriously. But Infernal Affairs is not like that. The feelings of the characters can only be expressed by facial expressions and eyes, through small actions, or through simple but concise lines of dialogue, so that it evokes complex emotions in viewers without clumsily trying to force them to feel the scriptwriter’s intentions. The watch that Superintendent Wonggave Wing-yanon his birthday, the scene where Wing-yanand Kin-mingare listening to music together, or the scene where Wing-yanis hugging the psychiatrist Lee Sum-yee, such simple circumstances are like those bass notes intermingled between the magnificent melody of the whole film. As a result, the film becomes emotionally diverse and remains in the audience’s hearts, not making them constantly brainstorming and tired of the interplay or payback of each other, but when the film has finished, no one can remember what’s in the film.
Excellent cast is also a big factor in the success of Infernal Affairs. Tony Leung has successfully shown a seasoned, dewy police officer Chan, whose face bores the deep torments and grief of a human being who cannot be himself. His best performance is the shocking and painful look of Wing-yanwhen he witnessed the murder of Inspector Hong. Thanks to this role, Tony Leung won the best male actor award of all three major film awards. Wong Chi-shingalso excelled in the calmness, warmth and temperament of Superintendent Wong Chi-shing, and won three excellent male supporting actor awards for this role. Eric Tsang left a strong impression with the role of hot-tempered, ruthless and cunning Hon Sam, but also a very generous one who knows how to manipulate the mind. Compared to the best co-stars, Andy Lau is somewhat less prominent. Even so, he has played the role of a criminal. Lau Kin-ming always has to wrestle between the righteous line and his true self – the most intricate role in the writer’s assessment.
Excellent filming and music are also a factor contributing to Infernal Affairs’ cinematic value. The film has artistic scenes and has become a legendary in film world, like the two main characters listening to music in the record store together with the nostalgic golden film color, or the stretch of blue sky pouring out on the terrace where their contradictions are exposed in the light. The dubbed songs in the film almost have a melancholic melody, highlighting the atmosphere of sadness and regret of the film. In particular, the song “Infernal Affairs” that the two main characters listen to together not only has a deep melody that is strikingly impressive, but even the lyrics convey the key message of the whole film.
Not only is it a crime film, Infernal Affairs is also a film about the pain of human life and ambiguity in the path of seeking ego. Whether you are a fan of brainstorming displays or philosophical stories, Infernal Affairs is also the perfect choice for you.