Mou gaan dou [Infernal Affairs] (2002)

Mou gaan dou
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Alan Mak
Writer: Alan Mak, Felix Chong
Cast: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chen, Sammi Cheng
Seen on: 7.8.2018

Chen Wing Yan (Tony Chui-Wai Leung) has been working for the Hong Kong mafia for a decade and has managed to keep it a secret that he is actually a police officer and keeps feeding information back to him. But he has been doing this for so long, there is practically nobody in the police force left anymore who knows that he is undercover and anyway, he’s ready to come back home. At the same time, Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau) has been working for the police for a decade as well, when actually he is a member of the mafia. He got used to his life as a police officer and would rather turn his back on the mafia once and for all. Both men are tasked with finding each other and so the hunt begins.

Infernal Affairs is a tense, well-made thriller that managed to draw me in, telling a good story that’s grounded in its characters.

The film poster showing Andy Lau's and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung's eyes in super close-up.

I have to admit that it took me a bit until I really got into the film, but once it had me hooked, it drew me in deep. I was very much caught up in the story and above all, the two protagonists. They were very well characterized, caught in their nets of (dis)loyalties as they were and the complexities they had to navigate.

You couldn’t hope for a better pair of actors than Lau and Cheung to take on those roles. they were simply fantastic – both on their own, but also together. They are at least half of the reasons the film works as well as it does.

Andy Lau and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung in the film.

There are still a couple of things that I didn’t love about the film. I could have done without the romance with the psychiatrist or the secret daughter plot. I also found the editing a little weird – it was almost like for a music video and didn’t seem to hit the right notes for such a somber film.

But other than that, I really have no complaints about this tense, well-made thriller. (It’s no wonder Hollywood snatched it up for a remake, though really, why remake something that is so good in the first place?) I enjoyed it a lot.

Andy Lau in the film.

Summarizing: Excellent.

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