A gang leader on the lam in search of redemption. A prostitute eager to gain her freedom back. Together they will decide to play one last gamble with their fate, the proverbial last big hit. Within this narrative proposition, a discrete romantic plot that will come to fit within the film’s dramatic structure. This is “Wild Goose Lake,” by Chinese director Yi’nan Diao, a film that’s inferior to his previous ones and too convoluted.
When Zhou Zenong (Ge Hu) accidentally shoots a cop, he goes on the run. Following him to the shores of the lake from the title is Liu (Gwei Lun-Mei). She’s a well-connected hustler, from the police to the criminal underworld, i.e., the rival gangs who are looking for Zhou. She was sent by a mob boss to be Zhou’s wingman as he tries to evade police and gain the upper-hand on rival gangs.
A graduate of Beijing’s Central Academy of Drama, director Diao is known for “Night Train” (Un Certain Regard 2007), and the superb “Black Coal,” for which he got a Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2014. His previous films had heft and lucidity, a spontaneity, whereas “The Wild Goose Lake” comes across as entertaining and self-aware, an exercise in style. “The Wild Goose Lake” combines an offbeat atmosphere with the realism of a documentary.