Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
We've compiled our favourite scary movies streaming right now, so enter if you dare!x
review, The Wild Goose Lake, The, Wild, Goose, Lake, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Liao Fan, Kwai Lun-Mei, Hu Ge, Wan Qian, Huang Jue, Qi Dao, Chen Yongzhong, Zeng Meihuizi, Zhang Yicong, Diao Yi'nan film rating

THE WILD GOOSE LAKE

★★★★

SUPREMELY STYLISH NEON-NOIR

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
1st December 2019

A lot of filmgoers think that style and substance sit on opposite ends of a spectrum on which all art can be placed. In this system, the best films lie clearly in or near the centre, with an appropriate balance of style and substance, and anything that teeters too far in either direction is to be chastised for its indulgent wanderings. It seems that throughout its history, anything that lays claim to art cinema has at its inception fallen victim to this whinge, from FW Murnau's 'The Cabinet of Dr Caligari' through to films like Apichatpong Weerasethakul's 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives', Jonathan Glazer's 'Under the Skin' and Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon'. But this system doesn't seem quite right to me.

'The Wild Goose Lake', the sophomore feature from Diao Yinan ('Black Coal, Thin Ice'), begins in classic noir fashion with a bloodied gang leader, Zhou Zenong (Hu Ge), on the run from the mob and the police, meeting a mysterious woman on a moodily neon-lit rain-soaked street that would put 'Blade Runner 2049' to shame (the film's Chinese title literally translates to "A Rendezvous at a Railway Station in the South"). The femme fatale is Liu Aiai (Gwei Lun-mei), a "bather" (a sex worker who plies her trade at one of Wuhan's lakes) employed by his boss, Hua Hua (Qi Dao). Like Zhou, we are unsure if she is offering assistance, laying a trap for rival crims or working for the cops.

'THE WILD GOOSE LAKE' TRAILER

We get some further explanation with a flashback to events from two days ago. It's an overly fussy but tightly-edited story that goes something like this: during a well-choreographed brawl over black market motorbikes, gang member Redhead shoots his rival, Cat's Eye. An attempt to broker peace (set in a hot pink hotel room with double beds) leads to the Olympic Games of Theft - two teams of six men attempting to steal as many motorbikes as possible, kind of like 'Gone In 60 Seconds' (minus Nicolas Cage).

This event leads to a surprising decapitation and the wounding of Zhou by his rivals. During his escape, crouched over the handlebars of a tiny bike, he shoots a police officer. From there, the momentum of the film begins in earnest as Zhou flees along the dark lakes of Wuhan.

That's the bulk of the story - the rest of the film is basically an episodic series of impressively-staged action sequences with glacially cool cinematography, while archetypical noir characters stare into the darkness and trade clipped dialogue. 'The Wild Goose Lake' can most easily be compared to Refn's work, particularly the 'Pusher' trilogy and 'Drive', which are about tough, low-level hoods who scrap their way through a narrowing set of choices. Like those films, the atmosphere is rich and menacing, so much so that viewers could probably tune out the narrative and still get on the proper wavelength.

Cinematographer Dong Jingsong, working with a full palette of colours and textures, supplies one unforgettable image after another, including a frantic mass shootout where all the gangsters are wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes.

Diao's film is primarily concerned with movement: its characters drift through the inky night and neon lighting, occasionally clashing against each other. Cinematographer Dong Jingsong, working with a full palette of colours and textures, supplies one unforgettable image after another, including a frantic mass shootout where all the gangsters are wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and the most brutal umbrella assault since 'Once Upon A Time in China'.

To complete the otherworldly vibe, 'The Wild Goose Lake' features some Chinese censor-pushing sex scenes and uses dialogue in China's Wuhan dialect (the entire cast studied it in advance), unlike other Chinese movies that mostly features Mandarin.

Owing a debt not only to Refn, but to the Zen-like simplicity and nocturnal ambience of Walter Hill's 'The Driver' and Jean-Pierre Melville's 'Le Samourai', Diao's 'The Wild Goose Lake' may be little more than an exercise in style, but it's certainly a dazzling and mythic one.

FAST FACTS
AKA: Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui
RELEASE DATE: 06/12/2019
RUN TIME: 1h 53m
CAST: Liao Fan
Kwai Lun-Mei
Hu Ge
Wan Qian
Huang Jue
Qi Dao
Chen Yongzhong
Zeng Meihuizi
Zhang Yicong
DIRECTOR: Diao Yi'nan
WRITER: Diao Yinan
PRODUCER: Shen Yang
SCORE: B6
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Jumanji: The Next Level - Return to the greatest adventure of all time
TRENDINGWIN JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVELReturn to the greatest adventure of all time
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best horror films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best horror films streaming right now
Kristen Stewart: From 'Twilight' to Arthouse - Celebrating a career as unique as the actress herself
TRENDINGKRISTEN STEWART: FROM 'TWILIGHT' TO ARTHOUSECelebrating a career as unique as the actress herself
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best drama films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best drama films streaming right now
28 Days Later - ...15 years later
TRENDING28 DAYS LATER...15 years later
Happy Ending - An extra-wrinkly sex comedy
TRENDINGHAPPY ENDINGAn extra-wrinkly sex comedy
Pixar Animation, ranked - Revisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
TRENDINGPIXAR ANIMATION, RANKEDRevisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
Burning Kiss - Baroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
TRENDINGBURNING KISSBaroque, eye-catching Australian neo-noir
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
The Big Trip - Should have stayed at home
TRENDINGTHE BIG TRIPShould have stayed at home
Aiyai: Wrathful Soul - Ambitious but unfocused Aussie horror
TRENDINGAIYAI: WRATHFUL SOULAmbitious but unfocused Aussie horror
Kiki, Love to Love - Less sexy in Spain
TRENDINGKIKI, LOVE TO LOVELess sexy in Spain
25 years since 'Clerks' - The Impact of Kevin Smith on an unsuspecting Hollywood
TRENDING25 YEARS SINCE 'CLERKS'The Impact of Kevin Smith on an unsuspecting Hollywood
Sleeping Beauty - A history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
TRENDINGSLEEPING BEAUTYA history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
Blue - A thought-provoking underwater journey
TRENDINGBLUEA thought-provoking underwater journey
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best horror films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best horror films streaming right now
Kristen Stewart: From 'Twilight' to Arthouse - Celebrating a career as unique as the actress herself
TRENDINGKRISTEN STEWART: FROM 'TWILIGHT' TO ARTHOUSECelebrating a career as unique as the actress herself
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us