Synopsis: Chan Wing Yan, a young police officer, has been sent undercover as a mole in the local mafia. Lau Kin Ming, a young mafia member, infiltrates the police force. Years later, their older counterparts, Chen Wing Yan and Inspector Lau Kin Ming, respectively, race against time to expose the mole within their midst.
It's time for the seventeenth entry in the Marsh Film Club. This one was selected by... actually who knows, like three of us are doing this now so whatever.
We've set a viewing deadline of 30 June, so make sure you watch it before then and please don't post any thoughts/spoilers until after that date.
Feel free to use this thread to talk generally in the meantime - let us know if you're taking part, any difficulties tracking down the film, or just to say you've watched it.
Also you may post discussion questions if you've seen the film already. Otherwise the three of us will watch and post something and then move on and forget we ever did in this dwindling group of people who can never stick to any commitments.
Pessimist. I know this may come as a shock to you, v9733xa, but I have seen this before, but not for several years, so it’ll be nice to revisit. I’m even more looking forward to comparing/contrasting this and The Departed
Post by chocollama on Jun 28, 2020 16:11:39 GMT -5
I haven't been as vocal in my participation lately (and I've got a motherfucker of a backlog of stuff to enter into Letterboxed still), but I'm still here with y'all and looking forward to these. Hope you guys are doing well and staying physically/mentally healthy.
if you've bought some movies and you got any digital film codes you don't want hmu I'll probably Venmo you for a good one
☆"You're acting like a real criminal. Have you forgotten you're a cop?"☆
We're trying something a little different for the next two Daily Mosh Film Club picks: watching an original and its Hollywood remake following that. For me, raised on American films and not really a "cinephile" by any means until about 5 years ago, that means it's likely I have seen the remake and not the original. That's the case here for Andrew Lau's and Alan Mak's 無間道 -- literally "The Unceasing Path," presented in English as Infernal Affairs -- famously reworked by Martin Scorsese with a Whitey Bulger-inspired story in the Best Picture-winning The Departed, for which the legendary filmmaker also finally won his first Best Director Oscar.
Though I know many call that a "lesser" Marty film, I love it, and can't wait to see it again in a couple weeks. In the meantime, tonight is the night for the beloved 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller, starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung.
Police officer Chan Wing-yan (Leung) is working undercover in the Hong Kong Triad criminal syndicate; only Superintendent Wong (Anthony Wong) knows his mission and identity. Meanwhile, Triad member Lau Kin-ming (Lau) infiltrates the HKPD, planted by his boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang). Over a long decade, each mole works to gain precious info about each enemy; Lau rises up to Senior Inspector through hard work, while Chan suffers physically and emotionally in a grueling role with the gang. When an incident occurs, where it's clear both sides are aware of a mole within each respective organization -- but the identities are mysterious -- Chan and Lau are on the hint, for one another. A dangerous game of double-crossing commences, where soon they learn the deception runs even deeper.
While I should wait to compare these movies until I've given The Departed another proper watch, I can't help but think about it already. Immediately I was struck by the shorter runtime of Infernal Affairs, only about 100 minutes, compared to nearly an hour longer for Scorsese's feature. Many praise the tight script of Lau's and Mak's film, and indeed the story moves quickly to establish the central tension. But that early montage is so fast, I almost wished for more depth in the characters. We just accept what the movie tells us instead of finding it out on our own.
With that said, it's a story that eventually becomes action-packed and thrilling, because of the moral conundrums and emotional tension that ramps up swiftly. To be fair, this plot is at times cliché-ridden and not terribly original -- also, as most note, hilariously implausible and unconvincing -- but acted quite well and shot with jump cuts and quick edits to keep the pace. While many may have been driven to watch Infernal Affairs from the star leads, the standout to me was the funny and wild performance by Eric Tsang as the Triad boss. Kind of wanted more from him.
But certain elements of the film are very Hong Kong, which has a strong arthouse tradition but few other movies that interest me. That's because the same tropes are used here: melodramatic flourishes, black-and-white flashbacks, sentimental pop music, shoehorned characters who exist only to tell the audience what's going on. It's fine. Some people don't want to be challenged too much when watching a film. If you drill down to the central theme of the two moles, and the cat-and-mouse game that unfolds when they think they have each other figured out, it's quite good.
I'll correct myself actually real quick. There certainly is one Hong Kong style of film I do like: the balls-out action thriller, chiefly John Woo's bonkers The Killer and real masterpiece -- and recent Film Club pick -- Hard Boiled. This is not either of those, and that's okay. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a tad disappointed that this was maybe a little tame.