Every relationship has an expiration date. Every relationship needs its fantasies...some more real than others... A violent death of a relative brings Wit and his wife, Dang, back to ... See full summary »
After inadvertently killing his girlfriend, a man (Asano) flees Macau for Thailand in an attempt to cope with his guilt, and avoid possible arrest. But the relocation doesn't prevent his problems from following him, as his new friends could be potential enemies.
Phaen is a suburban young man with a great love for music. He never misses a chance to show off his voice at temple fairs in his village. It is at one of the fairs that he meets and falls ... See full summary »
A woman, fired from a financial coorporation during the Asia crisis, returns home with no money. However, she finds a box with a fortune in front of her door, and decides to keep it. ... See full summary »
A young working woman has to follow obscure advice by an old sage in order to prevent a worst-case scenario. A returning nightmare of a family home built by her deceased mother for the ... See full summary »
Pod is a man without a dream. He's a country bumpkin who comes to work at a tinned sardine factory in Bangkok. One day, Pod chops off his finger and packs it in the can, prompting him to go... See full summary »
Sawatwong Palakawong Na Autthaya
Sociopolitical Documentary directed by Pen Ek Ratanaruang and Pasakorn Pramoolwong narrating the forward of (sometimes backward) Thai politics since People's Party (Khana Ratsadon) established a constitutional monarchy on 24 June 1932.
A mysterious, obsessive-compulsive, suicidal Japanese man living in Bangkok, Thailand, is thrown together with a Thai woman through a tragic chain of events. The woman is everything he is not. He is a neat freak who keeps his dishes washed and his books neatly stacked and categorized. She dresses like a slob, smokes pot and never picks anything up. It's a match that somehow works, though. Slowly and entertainingly, more is revealed about the Japanese man and why he's suicidal and living in Bangkok. Written by
I do like a suicidal man with an ordered wardrobe.
Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) is a depressed, introverted Japanese man living in Bangkok with suicidal fantasies. He is not so simple as his quiet demeanour hopes to portray. His past is complicated and therefore he controls his present state with an OCD-repressed lifestyle. His clothes are colour co-ordinated, his socks ironed and folded, and his books are stacked so neatly there's an urge to reach into the TV and throw them around the room just to set the sterile organisation off-kilter.
The dream-like unreality of Kenji is punctuated by his meeting of Nid (Laila Boonyasak) and her subsequent departure. Her sister Noi (played by Nid's real-life sister, Sinitta Boonyasak) is suddenly in his life, and her home serves as an escape for a disturbing event that happens in Kenji's apartment. Their personalities are as contradictory as they are complimentary - she is as messy as he is organised, as free as he is controlled. He brings her life into order and she brings his into disarray.
The developing romance between the two is difficult to categorise. Kenji imagines on occasion that Noi has become Nid; it's almost as if Noi is the next best thing and he doesn't appreciate her for herself. This is however usurped by the ending, of which I won't give away. That has to be down to individual interpretation and perhaps can't be seen definitively anyway.
Director and co-writer Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's portrayal of a Japanese man and Thai woman's blossoming relationship is illustrated with their stilted dialogue - it veers from Thai, to Japanese, to halting English. Their mis-understandings of language are juxtaposed with their understandings of each other. There is nothing so clear as body language and this film relies heavily on the physicality of the two leads, both of whom give near-flawless performances. Asano in particular cannot be helped being taken to the viewers' heart; it's obvious here why he has such a high status in Japan. Boonyasak is not so sympathetic, but she is perhaps not meant to be, and she serves her purpose well.
There's some brilliant comic moments peppered throughout, but the poignant moments counter-balance these well. The ending gives some insight into Kenji's past but must be viewed more than once to appreciate. This is not a simple or straight-forward film, but nor is it complicated or pretentious.
Last Life in the Universe is difficult to sum up without mentioning its imagery, of which you have to see for yourself to appreciate, or describing it with the words 'beautiful' and 'subtle' - I almost managed it.
59 of 63 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?