Mou Gaan Dou I - Infernal Affairs I

"By the way, whoever loses the game, dies." Superintendent Wong

"By the way, whoever loses the game, dies." Superintendent. Wong


Mou Gaan Dou I - Infernal Affairs I (2002) is a Hong Kong Cinematic Psychological Masterpiece.

Directed by Wei-Kueng Lau and Alan Mak.

Starring Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang and Eric Tsang.

Andy and Tony play moles for different organizations. In the scene below, Tony (the one with cast on his arm) is a mole in a Chinese Triad in Hong Kong for the Police Department. Andy (the one seated with head phones) is a mole in the Police Department in Hong Kong for a Chinese Triad. Each is trying to not only compromise the departments they have infiltrated, but trying to stay alive, keep their sanity and please their demanding, ruthless bosses (Anthony and Eric) in a non-stop, heart pounding, jaw dropping film from beginning to end.

Think of the Jason Bourne films with their relentless pace set in a psychological rather than a physical action drama. Mayhem and Chaos are intertwined from moment to moment. You never know where the plot or the story will take the characters. This film requires multiple viewings to catch all the subtle plot twists and turns. There are two additional films that are equal if not better than the original.

What makes this one of the greatest films ever made is that they use Zen to illustrate how we humans can be both good and evil depending on our circumstances. Western audiences will miss the Zen aspect if they are not familiar with Zen Philosophy. Western audiences will still enjoy the plot twists, but the deeper meanings will not be understood. Infernal Affairs is a mind bending experience that has to viewed closely, multiple times to catch all the flipping between good and evil that every character goes through to stay alive. Good guys become evil, bad guys become good and vice-versa in a never ending duel for survival. The film makes you question the rigidity of classical right and wrong. This movie has only grey areas. The beauty of the directing, story, plots and acting is that like ZEN they all maintain a masterful subtlety of balance. No preaching, or heavy handed, moralistic viewpoints. Just pure human survival interactions.

Trivia - Lee Sum Yee - the psychiatrists name, is a Cantonese homophone for "Your Psychiatrist"