It is accurate to say that the four stories contained in A Touch of Sin are unconnected, despite a few overlapping elements. Accurate, yet not quite true.
The real connecting element here is money: who has it, who doesn’t, and what people will do to get it. It’s fascinating that a movie this caustic on the subject was made under the current Chinese regime.
The film’s a little more accessible than the previous work of the gifted director Jia Zhangke, who also made Still Life and 24 City. It certainly has a grabby beginning: a lone motorcycle rider, straight out of a Hollywood biker flick, is accosted on a lonely highway by three punks trying to rob him. He calmly shoots all three down.