Entertainment Weekly - 10/22/2004
"[The film] finds a director discovering his style."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2005
"[T]he very bloody action sequences are handled with genuine flair."
New York Times - 05/02/2008
"AS TEARS GO BY is, from first frame to last, obviously and exquisitely a movie by Wong Kar-wai....
A somber, atmospheric, almost brooding film set in the frenetic and garish Mongkok district in Hong Kong, AS TEARS GO BY is art house auteur and romantic Wong Kar-Wai's first feature film. It sets the tone of films to come, exemplary of the director's existential preoccupations and obsession with time, chance, and missed connection. At the heart of the story is Ah Wah (Andy Lau), a mobster with a protoge--Fly (Jackie Cheung)--who can't stay out of trouble. Continually landing in one hot spot after another, Fly depends on Wah to get him out of each mess, and though the local mob boss has told Wah to push Fly into another line of work, Wah can't seem to say no to his friend. When his sick cousin (Maggie Cheung) comes to stay with him, he tries to keep his unsavory existence from entering her life, but to no avail. Fly's continual crises impinge on the love that begins to grow between the two, and though he begins to rethink his life, no good can come of this triangle. All the characters are very real, doing precisely the things they should not be doing in a hopeless scramble for happiness.