Waking up feeling like utter shit, I didn’t think I’d be capable of watching anything substantive today and intended to sleep for the foreseeable future. However, A Touch of Sin was absolutely engaging from its onset.

Written & Directed by: Jia Zhangke

Plex surmised the film as narrating four random acts of violence occurring across modern China, however, it’s all too evident to me that these weren’t senseless acts, but the stories of various people pushed to the point of no return. It is presented beautifully, too.

I’m typing with a reluctant hand today, but I got through this film in one sitting, which is always surprising during my odyssey into random films not of my native tongue. You really are thrown into the utmost morbidity of the story in the first act and it gradually becomes more emotional and nuanced.

Even the inclusion of a tiger-patterned fabric in this period of the film is illusory to its Buddhist elements. There’s definitely a lot of metaphors at play with how animals are involved with this film throughout, too.

Reluctantly I’m going to mention how this film reminded me of An Elephant Sitting Still and this will be the last time I mention that amazing movie on here – the way in which the characters cross paths isn’t so direct and fluid though and the duration is nothing close to what Hu Bo insisted upon with his magnum opus.

Small demographic politics and trespasses upon one’s pride are illustrated, alongside the consequences of a murderer that initially seems morally just…

There are elements of Buddhism throughout this film and the value of human life as opposed to that of animals, or the loss of human life more primitive and harmful upon the majority than those of wild animals is definitely something incredibly observable. I noticed someone make a similar deduction about the metaphorical depth of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at one point and was inclined to agree. I spent two years vegan at one point, before becoming incredibly anemic, just so you know!

Even the lashing of the horse reminded me of Crime & Punishment.

A Touch of Sin switches effortlessly between being brutal and extremely sensitive and class/wealth differences alongside the value of love as opposed to money are made clear throughout. The definition of ‘sin’ itself can be brought into question, too, if you take a while to think about it, upon the film reaching its conclusion; one I found to be surprisingly optimistic; albeit in a very conflicted way.

Overall, if you want something that has impressive settings and cinematography, a message, and enough entertainment value to carry you through two hours, even whilst suffering from a comedown/the epitome of clinical depression, I’d recommend this film highly on this lowly blog.

I’m definitely going to watch this film again at some point and might return to edit this. Being as apolitical as I am, I don’t read other reviews anymore and can’t offer much cultural context, but this one was a gem and I feel blessed to have chosen this feature instead of chomping down more sleepers upon waking today.

The allure of criminality in a demographic where the economy is essentially corrupt and abusive toward the working class is brilliantly illustrated too, ranging from those engaged in prostitution to those working in factories or mines; articulating both similarities and differences of each one in an immensely poignant way.

Anyway, I never wanted this blog to be something I tried too hard with in regard to output and I apologize for the lack of quality I’m observing in my own writing today. For me to even watch something, let alone write anything in this state is a testament to how good this film is.

“Do you understand your sin?”

Besides, I don’t like writing about films from too retrospective a state of mind.

Don’t grow up to be like me.