Monday, October 15, 2018

This Week in Tickets: 8 October 2018 - 14 October 2018

There was baseball and a birthday party this week, so this happened:

This Week in Tickets

There was a night or two when I might have been able to sneak something in there, but it was too rainy to hang around, waiting for the movie to start. So, yeah, nothing until Sunday afternoon, when Lost, Found slotted in right before the ballgame.

Don't know that I'll be adding entries to my Letterboxd much this week - there's a work trip that, at this writing, seems really pointless, and the playoffs aren't over yet - but attempts will be made.

Zhao dao ni (Lost, Found)

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 14 October 2018 in AMC Boston Common #6 (first-run, DCP)

Though the listings suggest that Lost, Found is a drama built around divorce, it's actually a thriller that becomes a social-justice story, and it's just as confused as it sounds. It plays like the filmmakers only realized who the interesting characters were halfway through and had a heck of a time giving them the focus they deserved while also making the film they originally set out to make.

That would be a movie about successful lawyer Li Jie (Yao Chen), who came home from court and a work outing to find her daughter Duoduo and nanny Sun Fang (Ma Yili) have vanished. Divorced and in the middle of a custody fight, the irony is that she spent the day representing a husband who is trying to gain sole custody of his own child from a desperate mother and has taught junior associates that physical possession of the children creates leverage. That doesn't seem to be the case here, though - ex-husband Tian Ning (Mickey Yuan Wenkang) and his mother seem just as panicked as Jie, and it quickly becomes clear that she didn't know nearly enough about Sun Fang when hiring her.

The audience sees this unfold from Jie's perspective, and told that way, Lost, Found is a mystery story. It's not a particularly well-built one, unfortunately; writer Qin Haiyan throws the audience a bunch of red herrings early on but never actually uses them to deflect suspicion or misdirect for very long. That Jie will be victimized by things akin to her own aggressions and privilege is good material, but few threads actually come back to her, and other things are dismissed, little more than a momentary jolt. It works as well as it does because Yao Chen is fully committed to her part, never faltering as the career woman run ragged and plunged deeper into horror. She does a good job of landing on the spot where Li Jie can seem kind of callous but not actually cruel enough for this to play as some sort of comeuppance in flashbacks, with her harried moment of weakness that leads to hiring Sun Fang feeling different than the present-day parts of the movie, where a too-wide smile contorts into anguish and her determination becomes frightening.

Full review at EFilmCritic

Lost, Found

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