Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Unfolds as a masterful chess match of wit and ingenuity, a cat-and-mouse chase of the highest order.
  2. Dazzling psychological cat-and-mouse drama.
  3. 88
    Throbs with action, suspense and a seductive rhythm all its own.
  4. It's hard to breathe in Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs, a relentlessly taut Hong Kong cop thriller that, unlike many of its cinematic peers, doesn't burn off tension in choreographed action sequences.
  5. The plot is intricate and tight. The preamble is a bit challenging to sort out. But the movie's engine is the relationships and the characters' inner lives, all of it boiling with emotional intensity.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew Sun
    Driven by two great performances surrounded by solid supporting acts, Infernal Affairs is the rare testosterone movie that is also mature and thoughtful.
  7. 80
    One of the truest American gangster films of all time.
  8. 80
    Spins in place with aplomb, generating exponentially more vertiginous doublings with each sweaty-palmed set piece.
  9. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Pic is superbly honed at both script and performance levels, with character taking precedence over action.
  10. 80
    A runaway hit in Hong Kong, this 2002 crime thriller reinvigorated the genre with its airtight script, taut editing, and sleek cinematography.
  11. 75
    The movie pays off in a kind of emotional complexity rarely seen in crime movies.
  12. 75
    Overflows with psychological intrigue, something often missing from such offerings.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Viewers who like clean storytelling may not be happy. Those who savor ironic wrap-ups will be.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    This is a real grabber.
  15. Here is a psychological twister with an implausible and hard-to-follow plot. All of this is more than compensated for by terrific performances, a seductive colour palette that is greenish and glassy, and a minimalist style reminiscent of Michael Mann.
  16. 70
    The sophistication of the stylized minimalism here in Infernal Affairs is dazzling.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Expect to be confused for 10 minutes. Then sit back and enjoy the ride.
  18. 60
    It should come as no surprise that there's an American remake in the works, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon and directed by Martin Scorsese.
  19. 40
    The directors, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, manage to convince us that we have witnessed an action movie, although in fact the quantity of violence is so minimal that, under Hong Kong law, Infernal Affairs barely qualifies as a motion picture.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Sep 22, 2011
    A artistically bizarre, action packed movie that has the untouchable tension between its characters. In my opinion, "Internal Affairs" is better than the American version of the movie, "The Departed". Full Review »
  2. Terry
    Apr 30, 2007
    I liked this one better. People don't realize that the Departed is a remake of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. The Departed does take sources from IA 2 and 3. To say that this movie is a rough draft of Departed is downright insulting. WIthout this movie, there goes the Departed as well as Scorsese's career. This movie is much better. The characters are more interesting and this film has more soul than the American counterpart. A much better thriller overall. Full Review »
  3. Feb 17, 2014
    To compare the Departed with Infernal Affairs is insane. While the story is almost mirror, the style of direction and the cast could not be more night and day. Mainly because there are two different cultures at play here. The Chinese and the U.S.

    @DanB. Learn your history. Hong Kong was once a British colony and their entire judicial and law enforcement system is based on the British hence the bagpipes. HK is also an international hub so naturally there's a lot of English. While the majority of HK are Chinese people, they still hold do things the way the British taught them.
    Full Review »