6) Wild Goose Lake
A gritty neo-noir set in the streets of Wuhan, this movie held me from the opening shot and did not let go. This movie about a gangster manhunt is incredibly moody with its seedy atmosphere, illustrating the crime-ridden world its characters are forced to work in. Rather than merely replicating the style of old noir films, director Diao Yinan uses the style to inform the characters’ personalities and motivations. He almost makes the city of Wuhan itself a character, highlighting the desperation and loneliness of the film’s leads. It’s an invigorating sit, helped by fleshed out, engaging characters who elevate the film from being too reliant on its style. Hu Ge plays an excellent gangster on the run, and Gwei Lun-mei slips into the femme fatal role with ease. While the slow burn may not be for everyone, those who are comfortable with the pacing will be rewarded with an intense crime drama.