Film Review: Lost in the Stars 消失的她 (2023) China 🇨🇳
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia 🇦🇺)
Based on adaptation from Alexey Korenev's 1990 Soviet comedy film A Trap for Lonely Man and French playwright Robert Thomas' 1960 play Trap for a Lonely Man (Piege Pour un Homme Seul), it forms the core of director Cui Rui’s “Lost in the Stars”. Alfred Hitchcock once wanted to adapted this play and the result is one filled with Hitchcock style scenarios including femme fatale, missing people, twists and turns and human conditions. There is a lot of genuine tension throughout this film, especially the sequences of events happening with plenty of twists and turn along the ride.
The film focuses on the trio of charismatic actors (played with their own unique edge by Zhu Yilong (whose channel of legendary Tony Leung Chiu Wai), along with the irresistible Ni Ni in an impossibly cool role and the wife imposer by the beautiful Janice Man. In particular, the interplay and tensions between Ni Ni and Zhu makes good cinematic viewing as the duo searches for the missing wife and best friend as the husband with other agendas mixed within gambling and the top lawyer who is actually the best friend. All these adds layers to the twists and turns that eventually eventuate on screen. Janice Man gets a better screen presence and role this time as she is able to show sexiness and mysterious effect in a display that is a cut above her career norms. Newcomer Kay Huang plays the innocent and missing wife to good effect and gets to show more chops towards the ending.
All in all, “Lost in the Stars” succeeds in being entertaining throughout its entire duration and despite some moments of the usual “don’t gamble” as public messaging, the film is largely a genre film. Well acted and staged, the Thailand backdrop is fully portrayed and adds to the mysterious effect. People are not who they seem to be remains the key message as an afterthought.
I rated it 7/10