The ‘Infernal Affairs’ Trilogy gets the Criterion treatment this November.

The explosively stylish, gripping saga of two rival moles that jolted the Hong Kong crime drama to new life is now available in one box set. 
 
The Hong Kong crime drama was jolted to new life with the release of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, a bracing, explosively stylish critical and commercial triumph that introduced a dazzling level of narrative and thematic complexity to the genre with its gripping saga of two rival moles—played by superstars TONY LEUNG CHIU-WAI (In the Mood for Love) and ANDY LAU TAK-WAH (As Tears Go By)— who navigate slippery moral choices as they move between the intersecting territories of Hong Kong’s police force and its criminal underworld. Set during the uncertainty of the city-state’s handover from Britain to China and steeped in Buddhist philosophy, these ingeniously crafted tales of self-deception and betrayal mirror Hong Kong’s own fractured identity and the psychic schisms of life in a postcolonial purgatory.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS
Two of Hong Kong cinema’s most iconic leading men, TONY LEUNG CHIU-WAI and ANDY LAU TAK-WAH, face off in the breath-taking thriller that revitalized the citystate’s twenty-first-century film industry, launched a blockbuster franchise, and inspired Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. The setup is diabolical in its simplicity: two undercover moles—a police officer (Leung) assigned to infiltrate a ruthless triad by posing as a gangster, and a gangster (Lau) who becomes a police officer in order to serve as a spy for the underworld—find themselves locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse, each racing against time to unmask the other. As the shifting loyalties, murky moral compromises, and deadly betrayals mount, Infernal Affairs raises haunting questions about what it means to live a double life, lost in a labyrinth of conflicting identities and allegiances.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS II
The first of two sequels to follow in the wake of the massively successful Infernal Affairs softens the original’s furious pulp punch in favour of something more sweeping, elegiac, and overtly political. Flashing back in time, Infernal Affairs II traces the tangled parallel histories that bind the trilogy’s two pairs of adversaries: the young, duelling moles (here played by EDISON CHEN KOON-HEI and SHAWN YUE MAN-LOK), and the ascendant crime boss (ERIC TSANG CHI-WAI) and police inspector (ANTHONY WONG CHAU-SANG) whose respective rises reveal a shocking hidden connection. Unfolding against the political and psychological upheaval of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China, this elegant, character-driven crime drama powerfully connects its themes of split loyalties to the city-state’s own postcolonial identity crisis.

INFERNAL AFFAIRS III
TONY LEUNG CHIU-WAI and ANDY LAU TAK-WAH return for the cathartic conclusion of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which layers on even more deep-cover intrigue while steering the series into increasingly complex psychological territory. Dancing back and forth in time to before and after the events of the original film, Infernal Affairs III follows triad gangster turned corrupt cop Lau Kin-ming (Lau) as he goes to dangerous lengths to avoid detection, matches wits with a devious rival in the force (LEON LAI), and finds himself haunted by the fate of his former undercover nemesis (Leung). A swirl of flashbacks, memories, and hallucinations culminates in a dreamlike merging of identities that drives home the trilogy’s vision of a world in which traditional distinctions between good and evil have all but collapsed.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

New 4K digital restorations, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks

Audio commentaries for Infernal Affairs and Infernal Affairs II featuring codirectors Andrew Lau Wai-keung and Alan Mak and screenwriter Felix Chong Man-keung

Alternate ending for Infernal Affairs

New interview with Lau and Mak

Archival interviews with Lau, Mak, Chong, and actors Andy Lau Tak-wah, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Anthony Wong Chau-sang, Kelly Chen Wai-lam, Edison Chen Koon-hei, Eric Tsang Chi-wai, and Chapman To Man-chak

Making-of programmes

Behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and outtakes

Trailers

New English subtitle translations

PLUS: An essay by film critic Justin Chang

28 NOVEMBER

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