Ashes of Time
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Master Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai directed this lyrical, dream-like martial arts epic. A famously troubled shoot, the film took two years and 40 million dollars to produce (a shocking sum for a national cinema populated with low-budget quickies) and features a virtual who's-who of the Hong Kong film world. Conceived as a prequel to the popular martial arts novel The Eagle-Shooting Hero by Jin Yong, the movie is less a straightforward action thriller than a visually striking meditation on memory and love. It nominally centers on Ouyang Feng (Leslie Cheung), who ekes out a lonely… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Wong Kar Wai seems considerably more out of his depth than other Chinese filmmakers who have slummed in the martial arts genre. This can't compare to Chen Kaige's The Emperor and the Assassin or Yimou Zhang's House of Flying Daggers."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Martial-arts fans may find themselves disappointed, but Wong Kar-wai addicts will be delighted."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Each of the storylines wash over one another, refusing to take on a fully-fledged shape and yet they have a surprisingly cohesive cumulative effect."
‑ Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
"The film's imagery is its most striking asset, creating an impressionistic sense of both vastness and intimacy that frequently overwhelms the characters and their problems."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Wong's film is to be appreciated as poetry on film, an aphorism-filled ode to lovestruck dreamers, and for its beautifully rendered images."
‑ Michael Smith, Tulsa World
"One feels the passionate intensity of the filmmaker in every strand of his luminously intricate narrative."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"Wong's reworking hasn't made Ashes more coherent, but it's still a gorgeous enigma."
‑ Rafer Guzman, Newsday
"It's hard to recommend a film as frustratingly inaccessible as this one, but if you go into the theater expecting a trip to an art gallery, you might be pleasantly surprised."
‑ Sonny Bunch, Washington Times
"Wong Kar Wai could make even a compost heap look as gorgeous as a Vermeer."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"The motion picture as mood ring."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"For this director's cut, Wong has trimmed several minutes and reorganized the narrative according to the passage of seasons, though the plot is still impenetrable."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"The reworked version is a visual feast, even if the human dimension seems somewhat shortchanged."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Redux clocks in at a slightly shorter running time than any of the previous versions Wong has offered. The tighter edit is a better fit, but ultimately, it's not enough."
‑ Rob Boylan, Orlando Weekly
"I know Kar Wai's got a fanbase, but to me he's equivalent to a recent film school graduate using all of the post-production tricks that he's learned, either to show off what he's learned or to cover up his lack of talent."
‑ Austin Kennedy, Sin Magazine
"Maybe something gets lost in the translation, as often happens, but Wong may be giving us the first Eastern."
‑ Larry Ratliff, San Antonio Express-News
More reviews for Ashes of Time on Rotten Tomatoes