Director: Andrew Lau & Alan Mak
Cast: Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang
The following is a combination of portions of my review from the US theatrical release, as well as additions to that review and my opinion on the DVD extras, sound, etc. My original review (0/26/04, http://indiefilm.weblogsinc.com/entry/7280753642917386/) was written from a memory of a screening almost 2 years prior, so I felt I had to expand on it after viewing the DVD.
Infernal Affairs, the long-awaited and utterly brilliant Hong Kong crime thriller from Andrew Lau and Alan Mak was released in the US by Miramax on September 24th, 2004 and closed just 4 weeks later, grossing a paltry $92,584 (according to http://www.boxofficemojo.com). This result is not the fault of the film but rather the result of US distributor Miramax simply dumping this masterpiece on the US market and walking away. That action amounts to an artistic criminal act, as the film is an absolute gem and one of the best things to come out of Hong Kong since Mr. Phooey. Not only that, it is superior to any American crime thriller in decades, including Reservoir Dogs, Heat, Ronin and To Live and Die in LA, to mention but a few. Yes, I know you loved Dogs and how dare I go about dissing the pop culture darling Q.T. You know what? I loved Reservoir Dogs too, but considering Tarantino's love of Asian cinema, I suspect he (and his ego) can handle being placed behind something of such quality as Lau and Mak's triumph. This film harkens back to pictures like The French Connection and Serpico but is in no way a copycat of American films from the 70's. Affairs is instead infused with the singular style of Hong Kong filmmaking and at the same time is far from the usual by-the-numbers Hong Kong shoot 'em up.