As all things do with time, our 5 Movies to Watch This Week series has run its course and is evolving into something slightly different. Instead of simply listing a selection of five movies each week, we’re going to start looking at films that are well liked and find movies that are similar but lesser known – or in this case the original of a very popular remake.
In an effort to get the most out of each and every film you dedicate your time to watching, we also hope to further familiarize our audience with their favorite directors by highlighting said directors’ less popular films, etc.
For now, let’s focus on what’s at hand: a film almost everybody loves but very few know is a remake.
For our inaugural feature, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on the Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film The Departed. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg, and is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.
Infernal Affairs tells the story of a police officer named Chan Wing-yan, who goes undercover into a triad, and a triad member Lau Kin-ming, who infiltrates the Hong Kong Police Force. Each mole has been planted by the rival organization to gain an advantage in intelligence over the other side. When both sides realize the situation, Wing-yan and Kin-ming attempt to discover the other’s identity before his own cover is blown.
The film’s Chinese title means “The Unceasing Path,” a reference to Avīci, the lowest level of hell in Buddhism, where one endures suffering incessantly. The English title is a word play combining the law enforcement term “internal affairs” with the adjective “infernal.”
Having received critical acclaim for its original plot and storytelling style, the film was followed by Infernal Affairs II and Infernal Affairs III. (full disclosure: I have not seen either of the sequels)
If you liked The Departed, we highly recommend checking out Infernal Affairs. And if subtitles aren’t your thing, get over it, this film’s worth it.