Diao Yi'nan graduated from his debut film about a boy pretending to be a cop, to a film about a woman who is very much one.
why that's so crucial, you should be able to grasp from the synopsis.
like his debut, Uniform, this is an appropriately moody, yet not overbearingly grim film, despite the subject matter. Yi'nan lets the setting and circumstances do the work, allowing the rest of the story to just kind of go wherever it's going go. which is why our, once again, very repressed romantic leads, don't seem to ever put up any significant fight when life throws obstacles in their way.
not until 1h10m in did i realize that they may as well be…