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.