Thai anti-hero’s career trajectory follows quite a circuitous course, starting
as a cop, next becoming a hitman, only to later seek peace as a Buddhist
monk. It is safe to say his perspective
changes dramatically in Pen-ek Ratanuang’s karma noir Headshot (trailer
of the clear highlights of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
an eye on Tul’s hair. It will serve as a
telling indicator during Headshots many
flashbacks. Indeed, Tul will have much reflecting
to do. When viewers first meet him, he
is preparing for his latest hit. Tul kills
his target. He always does. However, he takes a bullet to the head in the
process. It turns out to be one of those
freak events. Tul survives, but he now
sees the world upside down.
we learn during his reveries, Tul was an honest cop who was framed for crossing
a crooked politician. Upon his release,
he is recruited by a sketchy doctor with weird eugenic-like theories on the
nature of evil to serve as the assassin for his secret cabal. Now that his vision is inverted, Tul wants to
retire. Right, good luck with that.
Headshot has all the film
noir elements, including two beautiful femme fatales, one hard-boiled
killer-for-hire, venal public officials, mysterious grudges, a lot of rain, and
a fair helping of Buddhist theology.
Pen-ek (sometimes billed as Tom Pannet) has crafted a slick, cerebral
thriller, dexterously slipping some curveballs past viewers caught up in the
nefarious on-screen business. Even
though the constant flashing backwards and forwards can be a bit confusing at
times, he steadily cranks up the tension, while maintaining an ominous sense of
fatalism. It should also be noted, the
majority of the film is seen right-side up, with only a few brief scenes
representing Tul’s new POV, so potential viewers should not fear leaving the
theater with a monster headache.
“Peter” Jayanama is an absolutely dynamite seething anti-hero with serious
action cred. His Tul broods like nobody’s
business. Celine “Cris” Horwang is also
a smart and dynamic screen presence as Erin, the innocent bystander repeatedly
pulled into the ex-assassin’s murky morality play. Likewise, Chanokporn “Dream” Sayoungkul is appropriately
alluring and vulnerable as the woman initially sent to ensnare Tul.
is the rare film that should thoroughly
entertain gangster genre movie fans and also satisfy art-house crowds. In short, it is the complete package. Very highly recommended, Headshot screens again this Thursday (4/26) as part of this year’s
Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Pen-ek Ratanuang, Thai Film, Tribeca '12