As Tears Go By
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Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai makes his feature film debut with this gritty romantic crime-drama inspired by Scorsese's Mean Streets. The film opens with young gangster Wah (Andy Lau) getting a visit for the day from his beautiful cousin Ah-Ngor (Maggie Cheung), who is coming into Kowloon from the remote outlying Lantau island to receive medical treatment for a lung condition. At first, the short-fused gangster and the quiet country girl have little in common, but gradually the two start to form a bond of sorts. Meanwhile, Wah's buddy Fly (Jacky Cheung), who has an absolutely volcanic… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Some of the editing has a giddy, overeager quality, the natural excess of a young prodigy, but when the action and the tempo align, the results are exhilarating: an early brawl in a pool hall fairly leaps off the screen."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"Unpersuasive as drama, Tears is the first and last Wong movie touched by any feel of the obligatory."
‑ Nathan Lee, New York Times
"The pinwheeling, phosphorescent spirit is undiluted Wong Kar-wai"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"This sounds like a fairly standard debut. But Wong smothers the story with tremendous style."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Long before Wong Kar-wai perfected his dreamy, ennui-infused aesthetic (or got hopelessly stuck in blueberry goo), he made a name for himself with this warhorse tale of small-time hoods on the road to ruin."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"A rich and kinetic portrait of the Hong Kong underworld and its system of pseudo-familial relationships and obligations"
‑ Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"As Tears Go By doesn't measure up to Wong's later classics, such as In the Mood for Love (2000) and Chungking Express (1994), but it shows a master in the making."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Ostensibly a conventional tale of triad loyalty, As Tears Go By announced the presence of a genuine Hong Kong new wave -- as well as an ambitious cineaste."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"A stylish if formulaic addition to the seemingly endless onslaught of crime films that dominated the Hong Kong cinema of the late Eighties."
‑ Joey O'Bryan, Austin Chronicle
More reviews for As Tears Go By on Rotten Tomatoes