Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Director of the terrific, Berlinale-winning police procedural Black Coal, Thin Ice (NZIFF14), China’s Diao Yinan wowed Cannes with this superlative film noir. Stacked with some of the most uniquely thrilling sequences you’ll see in a cinema this year, his lauded follow-up centres on a rogue gangster (Hu Ge) who’s wanted by the cops and the mob – and the opportunistic prostitute (Gwei Lun Mei) who may or may not give him up for the sizable bounty on his head.
“Diao… cements his status as a master filmmaker with another ingenious crime epic… The Wild Goose Lake is [an] assured, exhilarating tale of criminality and the havoc it wreaks on interpersonal connection, with everything impressive about its predecessor – attentive procedural detail, curious experiments with colour and shadow, action set pieces that’d make Michael Mann envious – raised to the Nth degree.
There’s not a single false step in its two hours; every edit, every shot setup, every movement of the camera maximises the raw cinematic effect. There’s power in Diao’s more subdued passages, but when he really lets loose and the fists (or bullets, or strategically concealed booby-traps) start flying, this film’s greatness transforms from the kind that sneaks up on you to the kind that blows you away.” — Charles Bramesco, Little White Lies
“Diao… delivers a definitive Chinese crime noir, in which the ravishing style and inventive staging form the substance… [it] may just end up being the last word in Chinese crime noir, because it does not want (or need) to be anything else.” — Jessica Kiang, Variety