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Tears

An over-leisurely, confusingly told study of a tough-guy cop on the cusp of retirement.

A director whose ideas never quite fulfill their potential, Taiwan’s Cheng Wen-tang (“Somewhere Over the Dreamland,” “Blue Cha-Cha”) again scores only seven out of 10 with “Tears,” an over-leisurely, confusingly told study of a tough-guy cop on the cusp of retirement. Despite a fine perf by Tsai Chen-nan, this semi-arty profile of a man brought face-to-face with the shortcomings of his past is unlikely to get parole from fest jail.

Nearing 60, Det. Guo (Tsai), divorced and with a son he’s distant from, lives with his dog in a hotel room; his whole life is his work and the social underbelly in which he operates. Told by his superiors to wrap up a case involving a drug overdose, Guo follows his gut and digs deeper, following a trail to the dead girl’s college friend (Serena Fang), who has secrets to hide. So, too, has Guo — especially one involving betel-nut girl Wen (Enno, the helmer’s singer daughter), who has a deep-seated hatred of cops. A good cast and an interesting idea are let down by deliberately foggy storytelling and pallid, DV-sourced lensing of locations around Kaohsiung and Tainan.

Tears

Taiwan

  • Production: A Dreamosa Film production. (International sales: Joint Entertainment Intl., Taipei.) Produced by Cheng Wen-tang. Executive producer, Gu Heng-yi. Directed by Cheng Wen-tang. Screenplay, Cheng Jin-fen, Cheng Wen-tang, Chang I-feng.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Feng Hsin-hua; editor, Chang; music, Han Cheng-ye; art director, Chen Yong-jhih. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (A Window on Asian Cinema), Oct. 13, 2009. Original title: Yanlei. Hokkien, Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 109 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Tsai Chen-nan, Serena Fang, Huang Jian-wei, Enno, Doris Yeh.
  • Music By: