Sundance Film Festival Review – Deadline

Wong Kar-wai hasn’t directed a movie for eight years, but the Hong Kong maestro has just done the next best thing, having produced a film about a young protégé who is both swooningly beautiful and honestly moving in his story of a young moved. researchers. Director Baz Poonpiriya has directed two previous films, the second of which, Evil genius, became the most successful Thai production of all time in Asia four years ago, and while his style was clearly largely influenced by the works of his producer, it also delivered an obviously personal and engaging story of love. upset, long-distance nostalgia and incipient mortality.

Ping-ponging halfway around the globe between its sets on the roads of Thailand and the streets of New York, this magnificent work is a tale of a young love / lust mixed with a retrospective pointer, as well as a consideration of variable fruits of trying to fix the mistakes of the past. As such, he’s hugely emotional and, often, ironically funny, as a young man with leukemia stalks many women in the hopes of tidying up the details before leaving his deadly envelope.

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It is a profound film-film, a film that constantly exchanges questions of desired, won and lost love, regret, reflections of hope. It’s a road movie of streets and highways, catchy pop music and emotions worthy of a symphony orchestra. Few movies these days stir the pot with so many ingredients, but this one simmers all over the place with percolating feelings that aren’t so common in movies these days.

As the film does a delicate balancing act while juggling disparate moments in time and space, the dramatic frame is quickly established with the news that thirty Aood (Ice Natara) have been diagnosed with leukemia. He calls his former best friend Boss (Tor Thanapob) to come to Thailand from New York to do him a favor. Although the two have been separated and disconnected for some time, Boss doesn’t hesitate for a second and, upon arrival, is informed that his pal wants him to drive a road trip across the country from north to south so that he can make amends with many women before he leaves this world.

One can easily imagine such a setup made in Hollywood years ago, with Neil Simon writing and Gene Saks directing Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as an old bickering duo resurrect old differences and settle old scores as they visit. old ladies they once coveted. after or were married. Needless to say, this new movie couldn’t be more different. When the handsome boss arrives, he is struck by Aood’s bald head and fragile physique; the young man is done with chemotherapy, his outlook implicitly bleak. With a very eclectic music collection in the background, they hit the road.

Tor Thanapob appears in One for the road by Baz Poonpiriya, an official selection from the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance Film Festival 2021.

The first stop is a movie set wedding, where Aood’s former girlfriend (pronounced “due”) plays the bride. She doesn’t want anything to do with him at all. On the other hand, in Chiang Mai, he has a sweet encounter with an old flame and his little girl. And so on, as the past begins to fill in and the focus of the drama decisively shifts to Boss and his story.

The man is not badly named. He’s so handsome and useless that he has the woman he wants, and as a popular bartender his opportunities are limitless. Prim (Violet Wautier), a dynamic and playful young Thai woman who tries to tempt Gotham, has a harder time gaining a foothold in Gotham. It’s tough at first, but she turns out to be a matchless cocktail and captures Boss’s attention like no other woman has ever done.

The New York section of the film is filled with scenes from a vibrant downtown nightlife scene, absent from modern life for almost a year. It also gives Wautier, in particular, a real chance to shine. The camera loves him and his vibrant personality and rapid mood change suggest a lively career in the making. Cinematographer Phaklao Jiraungkoonkun makes the most of the many visual opportunities at locations on both sides of the world, and the lush visuals owe some beginning to the influence of the film’s producer.

But an equal factor in the effectiveness of the film flows from the judicious editing. The film skips a lot, both in places and in periods, and while the timeline isn’t always entirely clear, the emotional lines remain strongly felt, allowing for unbroken attachment and concern for the central characters, who all end up reaching true dimensionality.

From the start, Aood’s state of health drapes the film in a sense of the evanescence of life, the potential for anything to be here one day and gone the next. Despite or because of it, One for the road remains alive at all times, attentive to all the emotions, desires, opportunities and vicissitudes raised by the travels of the characters. It’s kind of a knockout.

One for the Road stars in the World Drama section of the Sundance Film Festival. World premiere. Duration: 136 minutes.

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