Infernal Affairs

Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. 80
    A runaway hit in Hong Kong, this 2002 crime thriller reinvigorated the genre with its airtight script, taut editing, and sleek cinematography.
  2. 75
    The movie pays off in a kind of emotional complexity rarely seen in crime movies.
  3. 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.
  4. Dazzling psychological cat-and-mouse drama.
  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. 75
    Overflows with psychological intrigue, something often missing from such offerings.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Expect to be confused for 10 minutes. Then sit back and enjoy the ride.
  8. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    This is a real grabber.
  9. 88
    Throbs with action, suspense and a seductive rhythm all its own.
  10. 80
    One of the truest American gangster films of all time.
  11. Unfolds as a masterful chess match of wit and ingenuity, a cat-and-mouse chase of the highest order.
  12. 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.
  13. Driven by two great performances surrounded by solid supporting acts, Infernal Affairs is the rare testosterone movie that is also mature and thoughtful.
  14. 70
    The sophistication of the stylized minimalism here in Infernal Affairs is dazzling.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Viewers who like clean storytelling may not be happy. Those who savor ironic wrap-ups will be.
  18. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    80
    Pic is superbly honed at both script and performance levels, with character taking precedence over action.
  19. 80
    Spins in place with aplomb, generating exponentially more vertiginous doublings with each sweaty-palmed set piece.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Sep 22, 2011
    8
    A artistically bizarre, action packed movie that has the untouchable tension between its characters. In my opinion, "Internal Affairs" isA 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
    10
    I liked this one better. People don't realize that the Departed is a remake of the Infernal Affairs trilogy. The Departed does take 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. May 30, 2016
    3
    I've been looking around Rotten Tomatoes to find some negative reviews of 2002's ''Infernal Affairs'' by either critics or the audience, but iI've been looking around Rotten Tomatoes to find some negative reviews of 2002's ''Infernal Affairs'' by either critics or the audience, but i cant seem to find any *really* negative reviews (except the 3 rotten scores by critics) so i guess, i'm yet again, back in a dark corner with my opinion on this one.

    Me, like many of this films' viewers, watched this film after having seen the wildly succesfull (critically acclaimed, and loved by audiences) Martin Scorsese picture: ''The Departed'' which is the remake/retelling of this story, staring a massive A-list cast, slick style, superb screenwriting, confident directing and an additional 40 minutes to sink your teeth into. It's basically an upgrade in every filmmaking aspect, as you would hope with every remake, which is unfortunately not always the case..

    As you can tell, i did not like Infernal Affairs at all, maybe a scene here and there, but as a whole, i was vastly disappointed. If i hadnt have seen The Departed before viewing Infernal Affairs i would have had no clue what this film is about, the only reason i understood what it was about after 40 minutes is because i watched The Departed before seeing this, which resulted in me having some sort of a clue what it was all about, but it really is not clear at all. Which is a perfect segway for my first complaint: The script is not confident of itself and has no clue what it wants to be, it goes all over the place and it feels so disconnected with the audience. Like i said, i got a fair idea what the movie was doing and what it wants to be after a whopping 40 minutes of struggling to know what the hell it was about, and to remind you, i allready saw The Departed, and i still had no clue what it wants to be. When watching the first 40 minutes i thought: ''Well, Scorsese and the screenwriters sure changed a whole lot, it seems a completely different film.''

    There are always those people that always claim that the original is better than the remake, even though the remake is an incredible masterpiece. But i really cant take people like that siriously, use your brain, and anyone who has one will clearly see that Scorsese's The Departed is a much superior film than Infernal Affairs, even though you might've liked the original, i think then everyone would agree too that The Departed is the superior film. It has one of the best casts of all time and they all deliver incredible A+ performances, but in the original except maybe the 2 leads, every other character and performance is not memorable. Scorsese has crafted memorable characters out of every character that has a slight role in the film, even the smaller ones, which is an incredible feit. The original does no attempt at trying this, except with the 2 leads, which is poor. The Departed is 40 minutes longer, which is additional runtime it clearly needed because The Departed is a well fleshed-out, coherent, and streamlined script which is engaging, entertaining and thrilling from minute one. Infernal Affairs however, is disjoint, unclear of itself, confusing, badly paced, and incoherent at many points in the film, neither is it thrilling nor that entertaining, which is a shame.

    The only thing i can praise wholeheartedly is that the ending/climax of Infernal Affairs is handled much better than in The Departed. The ending of The Departed is almost cartoonish and tonely-off. In Internal Affairs the ending is handled which much more precision and matureness. However, the ending to The Departed comes as more of a surprise and is more shocking, despite being a bit cartoonish.

    That's all i have to say, watching Infernal Affairs was a chore, i did not have a fun time watching it, it was a difficult watch, and i have no intention in ever watching it again.
    Full Review »