Ash Is Purest White Reviews

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June 21, 2019
As a gangster morality tale "Ash" is pretty mild; as a picture of China and Qiao's struggle it's much better.
April 26, 2019
Qiao scams philandering men, seemingly driven by the desire to punish Bin. And yet the film, slowly, reveals more melancholic aims, guiding a low-key finale towards a mournful evocation of what China has lost on the way towards modernisation.
April 24, 2019
Fascinating in its balance between microcosm and aerial view, but the performances definitely raise more emotional heat.
April 6, 2019
This is one of Zhangke's peak achievements: pure cinema, and a story of the underworld unlike anything you've seen before.
March 29, 2019
But despite the volcanic metaphor of the film's title, it's a tale characterized not by violent release, but by a steady - and ultimately compassionate - spirit of resolve.
March 21, 2019
The narrative occasionally wavers but not Zhao's performance, her best yet.
March 20, 2019
A network of recurring motifs unifies these episodes, such as the gun, the trains, vast, unfinished construction projects, and a volcano which inspires the film's title.
March 18, 2019
Despite the grand scale, like all of Jia's works, Ash Is Purest White leaves questions of good and evil to the viewer-this isn't a philosophical story, but a personal one.
March 15, 2019
Do not be gulled by the slow pace of Jia's stories; they are ceaselessly alive to his country's haste, as it rushes to erase and to construct, and his sympathies tilt to those uncertain souls who simply can't keep up.
March 15, 2019
This is not the sort of movie that offers up immediate gratifications, though there are some of those. Instead, it moves along with a steady grace. Its ruminative power creeps up on you.
March 14, 2019
No one makes movies like Mr. Jia does. He's a dramatist with the eye of a documentarian and the instincts of a historian, even a geographer. But he's also a romantic poet, and his heroine... is driven by love as far as it can take her.
Top Critic
March 14, 2019
Jia's films retain their documentary-like interest in real places and actual events, but acknowledge that depicting the new China requires a touch of surrealism.
March 14, 2019
The movie represents both the director and his lead actress at the peak of their powers.
March 14, 2019
Once again spotlighting a superb performance by his longtime creative partner and wife Zhao Tao, Jia's vision makes for a heady brew of love, loss, and loneliness over three time frames that coincide with huge changes in China.
March 13, 2019
An exceptionally fine movie that plays out on a large and leisurely scale. It combines a report on the state of things in today's China (not good) and a heartbreaking depiction of the personal damage that results.
March 13, 2019
The film as a whole is too rich with incident and surprise to be bleak. Jia has always had a sly sense of comedy, and an appreciation of spectacle.
March 11, 2019
Jia films the stern, grand drama with an avid eye for telling details that reflect stifled political protest, the nexus of business and crime, and the high-handed dictates of ruthless officials.
January 17, 2019
[Ash] moves fluidly from naturalism to melodrama to tell an epic story of a wayward, romantically frustrated woman over roughly 15 years.
Top Critic
January 2, 2019
Jia Zhang-Ke's large scale reintroduction is hardly a disappointment; it's simply another fine Jia Zhang-Ke film. What did we expect?
September 6, 2018
Entire passages stretch along at a too-leisurely pace, allowing whatever anger Jia is surely carrying to too frequently cool off. Still, by the film's New Year's Eve-set finale, there's little doubt Jia can create masterful cinematic moments.
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