Perhaps Patrick Tam was trying to combine elements of his first two films in Nomad, his third. His first was the The Sword (1980), which was gorgeously photographed and fascinating for a time but very slow. His second, Love Massacre, was a terrific slow buildup thriller, again gorgeously photographed.
Reviewer Score: 3
But with Nomad, Tam seems to have fallen back to some of the mistakes made with The Sword. The story is all over the place and often lacks any kind of sense or continuity. The pacing is also similar to The Sword, in that it is not well paced.
To be fair, the copy I watched had no subs, so it was hard to follow the fine detail. Of course, Nomad has lots of beautiful images, though less so than either of the first two.
On the positive side, I enjoyed most of the scenes between Cec Yip and Leslie Cheung. Their love scenes are particularly watchable. It was a bit spooky watching the young Cec Yip here. Perhaps HK's most attractive A-grade actress, Yip bears an astonishing resemblance to Chingmy Yau, and the similar hairstyle she wears only increases that illusion. I had to keep reminding myself that Chingmy did get into movies until the several years later.
Surprisingly, I didn't find one of HK's other stunners, Pat Ha, very watchable here. Her scenes with Leslie and with Ken Tong mostly just don't fire.
Most of this film comes across like a high-class soap opera. The final scene is a shock - quite violent and of course with tragic consequences. It's tempting to say, yet again, "Only in HK".
Stephen Teo has praise for this film in his scholarly and highly-readable book Hong Kong Cinema, but I was less impressed.