Tears (眼淚) directed by Cheng Wen-tang (鄭文堂) is a tough and gritty police drama. The style is quite a contrast to Cheng’s previous film, the teen romance Summer’s Tail (夏天的尾巴), which I reviewed earlier.
Enno Cheng (鄭宜農) plays Xiao Wen, a betel nut beauty who works alongside Xuan Xuan played by Doris Yeh of ChthoniC. Enno’s previous acting role was in Summer’s Tail but Tears puts her in a far more challenging role and she acts with much more maturity and range.
The other main character is Guo, the old detective, played by Tsai Chen-nan (蔡振南). Guo is a tough and wily police officer who wants to show his younger colleagues how things are done. He doesn’t always play by the rules, but is revealed as a complex and sensitive character as the plot develops.
The plot revolves around Guo working on the case of a young woman killed by a drug overdose. Guo is determined to solve the case while his colleagues become increasingly distanced from him and his sometimes unethical policing methods.
The film raises some important points about how police do their work — the issues are not just unique to Taiwan but common in many countries. More broadly it also engages with social issues looking at people on the margins of society — drug addicts, drug dealers, betel nut beauties — and the way police interact with them.
The film is set in Kaohsiung with many of the scenes shot in abandoned areas and run down buildings. Most of the dialogue is in Hoklo Taiwanese. The cinematography is also well done with the camera kept in sharp focus on the actors.
Tears is a great police drama. It’s tough and smart like Guo in the leading role.
*Tears will have a general release in Taiwan on 12 March 2010.