Ping Guo (Lost in Beijing) (2008)
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Critic Reviews for Ping Guo (Lost in Beijing)
Begins with a wild coincidence and goes rapidly downhill from there, becoming one of the most unintentionally hilarious tragedies in quite some time.
The film benefits from solid performances by its four stars, but it is overly didactic and drawn-out as its comic tone grows darker and darker.
Though the film's emotional tone is blurry -- toward the end it swerves away from farce and back toward anguish - its social criticism could hardly be more clear.
Too serious for comedy and too improbable to achieve much impact as social melodrama, it works best as a showcase for its actors, all of whom bring more depth to the material than it achieves on its own.
The sex is sufficient (if you care), the acting is good, and the shots of Beijing's streets and highways are interesting. But the story is contrived.
Audience Reviews for Ping Guo (Lost in Beijing)
A study in contrasts that plays out in the modern city of Beijing. Two disparate couples are joined together in an intricate ballet of deception, betrayal, blackmail, and sexual tension. The contrast is between a rich, childless couple and a poor, working class couple. It contrasts the victim with his or her oppressor and the deceived against the deceiver. Each of these four tortured souls are involved in a gamble wherein they could lose everything and one is never sure who is winning, or indeed, if there are any winners at all. Interesting camera work maintains the dynamic tensions. There are long shots of Beijing and the mass of humanity, and long interior shots in which little is said or done, but in which violent emotions are on display. The cast is excellent, and the story maintains its narrow focus on these four characters almost without blinking. Only one small side story breaks the string, and it only adds poignancy.
[font=Century Gothic]In "Lost in Beijing," Liu Pingguo(Bingbing Fan) works in a foot massage parlor where her friend Xiao Mei(Meihuizi Zeng) is fired for an altercation with a client despite quite possibly being in the right. So, the two friends get drunk. And that is when Lin Dong(Tony Leung Ka Fai), their boss, rapes Liu Pingguo which is observed by her husband An Kun(Dawei Tong) who is conveniently outside working as a window washer. Instead of reporting him to the police, he attempts to extort money but does gain a measure of revenge by having sex with Wang Mei(Elaine Jin), Lin Dong's wife, who cannot have children. On the other hand, Liu Pingguo is now pregnant.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Lost in Beijing" has some great shots of Beijing but the handheld camerawork gets a little tiresome. Overall, the movie is a pointed and disturbing critique of capitalism in China and how it corrupts all who come into contact with it. Start with the foot massage parlor(I'm going to have to reconsider my previous thoughts about the worst job) where the women have to put up with all sorts of molestation by the customers. And the boss who is the prime example of capitalism is worse. But what is shocking is that Liu Pingguo still wants to work there after she is raped. Are there no other alternatives?[/font]
After two graphic sexual encounters, the film settles into a interesting character piece, well directed and excellently acted. My problem was most of the characters were unlikable (although there were great lengths to show them as well rounded people with both good and bad within), and even Bingbing Fan's character (the most likable) was a bit of a doormat. Still an interesting perspective of Chinese culture (that was banned in China).
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