Ash Is Purest White

Critics Consensus

Ash Is Purest White finds writer-director Zhangke Jia revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe modern Chinese society with an urgent, empathetic eye.

99%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 146

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 167
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Movie Info

A tragicomedy initially set in the jianghu-criminal underworld-setting, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is less a gangster movie than a melodrama. With a three-part structure, it begins by following the quick-witted Qiao (Tao Zhao) and her mobster boyfriend Bin (Fan Liao) as they stake out their turf against rivals and upstarts in 2001 postindustrial Datong before expanding out into an epic narrative of how abstract forces shape individual lives, and continues Jia Zhangke's body of work as a record of 21st-century China and its warp-speed transformations.

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Critic Reviews for Ash Is Purest White

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (145) | Rotten (1)

  • As Qiao, Zhao [Tao] perfectly captures this complex character full of rage, emotion, and determination.

    January 19, 2020 | Full Review…

    Mina Takla

    AwardsWatch
    Top Critic
  • Jia Zhangke has crafted a razor-sharp study of alienation and the corrosiveness of the patriarchy in contemporary China. And Tao is a revelation.

    December 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Jia Zhangke highlights the changes China have been experiencing during the last decades, as tradition has succumbed completely to technology, speed and the relentless pursue of money.

    December 1, 2019 | Full Review…
  • ...a mesmerizing mood piece about personal alienation and national dislocation.

    November 7, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Zhao Tao just gives this powerhouse performance. It's so understated and her work -- and the film as a whole -- really do accumulate in their emotional resonance.

    September 23, 2019 | Full Review…
  • For anyone with a long investment in Jia Zhengke's artistry, it's not hard to find what he achieves here to be another masterwork.

    September 22, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ash Is Purest White

  • Sep 24, 2019
    Functions as sort of an anti-genre gangster film with a melancholy tone and an emphasis on the hard ways the passage of time changes people, countries, and landscapes. Tao Zhao's performance is incredible.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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