Film Review: Dust to Dust 第八個嫌疑人 (2023) China 🇨🇳
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia 🇦🇺)
Chinese crime thrillers set in the 90s have a usually sort of canniness that makes it compelling viewing. This is again true for the based on true events - “Dust to Dust”directed by Hong Kong’s Jonathan Li (“The Brink”). In many ways the film appears to be inspired by Hollywood’s Michael Mann genre classic “Heat” as we witness the biggest bank robbery in Chinese history with $15 million RMB at the time. The film is extremely well directed, tightly edited and grippingly entertaining throughout making it this one of the better Chinese crime thrillers of the year.
The story follows Da Peng playing a construction company owner whose high risk taking has led to the company on the brink of bankruptcy and instead of blending down to failure, he proceed to become a criminal mastermind of the biggest bank heist in Chinese history, one to save his ego and his reputation. Hong Kong actor Gordon Lam plays the dogged cop, on the trail of Da Peng right from the start of the journey and all the way into his own retirement when the former is spotted on TV in a chance encounter. The film goes between the 90s and 2010s, detailing Da Peng’s fascinating escape into the outskirts mines committing more murder along the way and end up impersonating another person to live a new family life.
All in all, “Dust to Dust” is an efficient and tightly directed crime thriller that is both gripping and entertaining. Da Peng and Gordon Lam are both brilliant respectively and in turn created that on-screen presence as we embrace the journey of two different characters. Like “Heat”, the film compose some tense sequences including the duo face off moments. However, the best parts of the film remain when Da Peng becomes the criminal mastermind and the journey that comes with it. Long time assistant director turned director Jonathan Li is another to watch out for.
I rated it 8/10