Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Oct 3, 2013
    100
    A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, A Touch of Sin is at once monumental and human scale.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Sep 28, 2013
    100
    As depicted by Jia Zhang-ke, the balance between the spoils and moral rot of murder are far preferable to the debasing rigors of tradition and hollow nationalism.
  3. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Oct 2, 2013
    91
    The bloodshed is fast and brutal — the flash of a knife, a splash of crimson in a backseat, an opening robbery gone horrifically awry. There’s even a little Tarantino in the staging, as when a blood-splattered wallflower unleashes her Kill Bill-style vengeance straight into the camera lens.
  4. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Oct 4, 2013
    90
    A Touch of Sin is the most dramatic and even lurid of writer-director Jia Zhangke's movies. The film-festival star hasn't quite become a Chinese Tarantino, however.
  5. Reviewed by: Calum Marsh
    Sep 23, 2013
    90
    Part of what’s so invigorating about A Touch of Sin is its refusal to betray the depth of its intellectual ambition, deferring when needed to generic convention and relishing the entertainment which follows.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Stamets
    Nov 21, 2013
    88
    A Touch of Sin is humanist critique of the country’s turn to capitalism.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Nov 4, 2013
    80
    This is a bitter, jagged, disaffected drama, pessimistic about China, pessimistic about the whole world. One characters asks another if he ever feels like travelling abroad. "Why would I?" he replies. "Everywhere is broke. Foreigners come here now." Jia Zhang-ke's movie gives us a brutal unwelcome.
  8. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 4, 2013
    80
    Anyone interested in the current state of China should see it, and it may open up this remarkable filmmaker to a larger audience.
  9. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 10, 2013
    80
    A Touch of Sin, the powerful if uneven new film by highly regarded Chinese director Jia Zhangke, is a corrosive depiction of the New China.
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 2, 2013
    80
    A Touch Of Sin stumbles in the coda, which makes the themes embedded in its title too explicit, but it’s a bold, invigorating statement from a director who keeps reinventing himself.
  11. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Oct 1, 2013
    80
    In A Touch of Sin, Jia is attuned to, and saddened by, the violence he sees creeping through his country, caused at least partly by the ever-widening disparity between rich and poor. He ends on a note that's more haunting than hopeful.
  12. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 1, 2013
    80
    There’s a sense that all the thematic messiness is intentional, a way for Jia to diagnose the ills of a country whose economic and social fabric is wilting under the effects of rapid modernization.
  13. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 27, 2013
    80
    [A] stately and ambitious ensemble drama.
  14. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Jan 4, 2014
    75
    Jia is passionate about his characters, but that never compromises his considerable artistic control.
  15. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 21, 2013
    75
    Some sequences...depict gunplay that wouldn’t be out of place in a conventional crime film. But Jia offers a stark presentation (no music, few edits) that discourages vicarious thrills; the violence is startling, not cool.
  16. Reviewed by: Marsha McCreadie
    Oct 4, 2013
    75
    It's not a pretty picture, but it's a compelling one.
  17. Reviewed by: Farran Smith Nehme
    Oct 3, 2013
    75
    A Touch of Sin is by no means subtle, but it is composed with a passion and sinuous grace that makes it far more effective than many other sincere message movies.
  18. 75
    A Touch of Sin is a distinct departure, dipping into the pulpy martial arts tradition in a scathing portrait of post-Maoist China, where money is the new religion and horrific violence is its by-product.
  19. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    May 27, 2013
    60
    There’s a certain pleasure to be had in seeing a revered auteur go off the disreputable deep end, and there’s no denying A Touch of Sin packs a visceral wallop.
  20. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    May 27, 2013
    50
    The people of Jia’s film are mysterious, their reactions and motivations, outside of that first segment in which we get the best-drawn and therefore most anomalous character, are all but unknowable.
  21. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    May 27, 2013
    40
    Tonal inconsistency, lethargic pacing and a shortage of fresh insight dilute the storytelling efficacy of this quartet of loosely interconnected episodes involving ordinary people pushed over the edge.
  22. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    May 27, 2013
    40
    If the final effect is somewhat less nuanced than his previous work, it's a good deal more vigorous.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 1 more rating

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 17, 2014
    10
    Must see film. After seeing it a week ago streaming on NetFlix I am still haunted by it. The director pulled the four stories that make up the film from the headlines of Chinese newspapers. Full Review »