First-time Chinese filmmaker Zeng Zeng brings her acute moral sensibility to bear in this fascinating Buddhist riddle of a film. Monk Can Chen has a cloudy past, and withdraws from a temple bearing a sack of money. Innkeeper Wang Haili labours under an uneasy conscience while being haunted by his dead wife, Su Mei. Retiree Fang Yiguo has abandoned his son Shangqin, only to find out that emotional entanglements and unacknowledged family sins have unavoidable consequences.
All three are variously drawn to a Buddhist temple in rural Hunan, China, where each discovers that past sins (theft, murder, abandonment) accrue complex karmic debts, whose consequences are as shocking as they are inevitable. A brilliant interlocking structure only gradually reveals the profound and ineluctable moral universe lying behind these lost and desperate characters' fates.