In “The Wild Goose Lake” Chinese director Diao Yinan, who also wrote the screenplay, has concocted a story around a small-time mob boss, played by Hu Ge, who unintentionally kills a cop. Now he is a hunted man desperately trying to stay alive. The film has a fascinating noir look and ambiance as we follow the plotline and admire the cast.
There’s one more aspect special about this film, an importance unforeseen when it was being made. It was shot in Wuhan, China, presumed source of the Coronavirus Director Yinan packs the film with local atmosphere and gives us an idea of what at least part of the area looks like, including a sampling of its abundance of lakes.
The key male character, Zhou Zenong, played by Hu Ge, is a sullen type, with an estranged wife. He is very much the petty gangster who is trying to keep hoods in line. Having killed the cop, whether intentional or not, becomes an imminent threat to his life.
Every noir has to have a femme fatale. Here she is Liu Aiai, portrayed intriguingly by Gwei Lun Mei. A big temptation confronts her. She can reap a large reward by turning in Zhou. What road will she take?
There is a steamy quality about the film, also laden with action. It would appear that the writer-director is trying to summon his knowledge of other films and apply it to creating his venture into crime. He succeeds to an extent with his complicated plot and noir-type characters. A Film Movement release. Reviewed March 8, 2020.