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The Wild Goose Lake(南方车站的聚会)

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

China, France · 2019
1h 53m
Director Diao Yi'nan
Starring Hu Ge, Gwei Lun-mei, Liao Fan, Wan Qian
Genre Crime, Drama

Zhou is a small-time gangster who accidentally, he insists, shoots a police officer dead soon after his release from prison. He meets a mysterious woman while on the lam from both sides of the law in this bleak but stylish neo-noir set in and around Wuhan.

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The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

What it’s really about is the interplay of shadows and neon, and the endless possibilities of bodies in motion—planted on speeding motorcycles and racing up and down staircases, always chasing or being chased.


Time Out by Dave Calhoun

The story itself, a twisty, hard-to-keep-track-of tale of revenge and double and triples crosses, is not especially remarkable. But that barely matters when there’s such virtuoso image-making on display.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The musicality of Diao’s cinema has never been more symphonic, but it comes at the expense of his ability to properly conduct this script.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

It may refer inescapably to genre classics from elsewhere, but The Wild Goose Lake is like an organic feature of the Chinese cinematic landscape, as though it pooled onto the screen in all its oily, murky glory, having welled up from deep inside the ground. Suddenly, China feels like the noirest place on Earth.


Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

Diao’s flamboyant direction means that he often sets up one elaborately staged tableau just for a single shot, those shots sometimes coming in expansive flurries; some action scenes also feature lightning inserts fired off with surreal abruptness, as in the first gang rumble.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

A film that doesn’t hit you like a tidal wave as much as it gradually washes over you, leaving in its wake a series of memorable set-pieces and a dense, dark web of violence and fatality.


The Playlist by Jordan Ruimy

Despite this disappointing effort, Diao continues to impress with the clever use of his camera. Now, one just wishes he could find the substance to pull all this style together in a winning fashion.


Los Angeles Times by Justin Chang

Like a more showily virtuosic version of his countryman Jia Zhangke (who worked with Liao in his own recent gangster thriller “Ash Is Purest White”), Diao uses the conventions of genre to illuminate a world where crime, corruption, rapid social flux and soul-crushing inequality are inextricably intertwined.


CineVue by Martyn Conterio

The editing might be unexpected, unconventional, a bit annoying, but it is also very smart. Creating as it does a vital tension between plot and theme, pushing the two characters unrelentingly towards an event horizon and black hole denouement.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

I felt that we were not permitted much access to the character’s innermost thoughts, and so some of the film’s romance, and its fatalism, did not have the piercing impact as the visual masterstrokes. But there’s no doubting Diao’s style.

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