Ashes of Time (1994)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2001-03-12
Summary: Great !
Having spent years recovering from the shock of WKW's dreadful ChungKing Express, I approached AOT with some trepidation. But it has such wonderful music and gorgeous photography, I was assured. The story is a bit of a jumble, but stick with it, I was told.

Well, they were right. Much as it grates to admit it, these people who adore ChungKing Express and Ashes Of Time are right, and have not totally lost their minds. At least, not when it comes to AOT.

AOT is one of the most visually entrancing HK films I've seen. I am ready to agree that Chris Doyle is capable of spectacular work. The many images with reflected water are particularly striking. And the music is divine, and I'd rank it almost up with James Wong's heart-melting score for the wonderful Chinese Ghost Story series.

The story is scattered, very much like the Ashes of the title, but I didn't find it all that hard to follow. Granted, you need to be in a certain meditative mood to watch it.

In short, AOT is everything which ChungKing Express is not.

I believe that any person who has watched both CE and AOT, and detests them both, could fairly claim membership of the not-inconsiderable "Wong Kar Wai is a wanker" club.

But not me. AOT alone (I am yet to see other films, such as As Tears Go By) would keep me out of this group.

This is certainly not a film for everyone. (Why can't WKW's ardent fans ever state this simple fact in their rapturous reviews ?!). But the music alone would have been enough to get me in, and the lovely images to hold my attention.
Reviewer Score: 10