Reviewed by: mrblue
Along with Ang Lee's Lust Caution, Lost in Beijing was certainly one of the most controversial movies to come out of China over the past year. Actually, "come out" is probably not the proper verbiage, since it was banned in China due to its' "explicit" sex scenes.
Reviewer Score: 7
Various reports have the government wanting to sweep this film under the rug not for the sex, but rather for inciting that not all Mainlanders are shiny happy people, which is not the image Beijing wants to be portraying as the world's attention goes towards China for this summer's Olympic games.
Whatever the case may be, Lost in Beijing struck such a chord with the government that they not only banned the film, but slapped an injunction on the producer and director to prevent them from working in China for two years.
Of course, all this was for naught, as was Lost in Beijing picked up for foreign distribution. And back in the Mainland, many people were able to view the movie anyway due to not only the usual street-level bootleg shops, but also from a growing base of people with high-speed internet connections and ways to circumnavigate China's notoriously tight internet filters.
You might ask, what does all this mean at the end of the day? A bit sadly (especially since this stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai, a very under-rated actor in my book) Lost in Beijing comes off as a bit of much ado about nothing. Well, not really "nothing", but this did come off as a little disappointing.
The sex scenes are really nothing to write home about; the actors stay partially clothed during them, and all of the naughty bits are over with after about the first half-hour. They're not as (pardon the expression) full-blown as the stuff in Lust Caution, and certainly nowhere near the depravity of the Category III's heyday.
So what we're left with here is a drama, with a few sex scenes thrown in to spice things up. And as a drama, Lost in Beijing does handle itself well for the most part. The acting, especially from Tony Leung and Elaine Jin, is very good all around, which is propelled by a solid script. The viewer really does get to develop true feelings for the characters, which is seemingly becoming a rare commodity in films from all over the world these days.
Unfortunately, the path the characters take is pretty much one that we've all seen many times, and that's ultimately why Lost in Beijing fails itself. All the gorgeous cinematography and talented acting in the world can't save that.
[review from www.hkfilm.net]