In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, a young cyclo (pedicab driver) transports anonymous passengers through the teeming streets, trying to eke out a meager living for his two sisters and elderly grandfather. When his bicycle is stolen by a local gang, he descends into the gruesome underbelly of this corrupt and violent city. Seduced by easy money, the Cyclo is swept deeper into the crime ring led by the quietly charismatic Poet (Tony Leung of Chungking Express and Bullet in the Head).
Unbeknownst to the Cyclo, his older sister (the exquisite star of The Scent of Green Papaya) has also been mesmerized by the brooding Poet and turns to prostitution to please him. Director Tran Anh Hung, whose brilliant debut The Scent of Green Papaya established him as a master visualist, fuses the neorealist style of The Bicycle Thief with the kinetic energy of Taxi Driver in this gritty tale of innocence lost in the urban jungle of Vietnam.