Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
NYAFF ’13: Countdown
this is not a home invasion film, because they invited him in. Nor is this psycho dug-dealer exactly whom he
seems to be—except maybe the psycho part.
Regardless, three privileged Thai expats are in for a really crummy New
Year’s Eve in Nattawat Poonpiriya’s Countdown
screens tonight during the 2013 New York Asian Film Festival.
her boyfriend Jack, and their flat-mate Pam are not big on consequences. They live the bohemia life in New York and
their long suffering parents’ pay the bills.
Ironically, their small time dealer friend sets all the drama in motion
when he resolves to clean up his act.
Snoopy Jack thinks he found his connection’s ripped up business card,
but it is missing a digit. Bee adds a 3 in
honor of the New Year of 2013 and presto, Jesus (that is with the Spanish
pronunciation, mind you) is on his way over with fresh weed.
a while, the three entitled kids enjoy smoking up with the scraggly looking
dealer, despite the rather odd remarks he occasionally lets slip. As the more responsible one, Bee slowly picks
up on Jesus’s bad vibe, but with Jack and Pam out-of-their-minds high, she is
no match for the large, angry man. Ominously,
he also seems to know secrets about them that a garden variety dealer should
have no way of knowing. Man, are these
cats going to miss Dick Clark.
Countdown starts in a hip Kevin
Williamson bag, but things quickly get biblical. Following in the tradition of old school E.C.
Comics morality tales, Bee, Jack, and Pam have been bad kids, so viewers will
not be overly disturbed when Jesus puts the screws to them. Still, Poonpiriya takes the action to some thematically
dark places and does not skimp on the physical violence.
Jesus, David Asavanond makes a killer villain, so to speak. He struts about and delivers his heavy
dialogue with the authority befitting an avenging whatever. However, Jarinporn Joonkiat also does some
real acting as Bee. She actually makes
her a complex, believable character, which is quite impressive in a
neo-exploitation genre mash-up.
Essentially, Pachara Chirathivat plays Jack as the character demands:
weak and annoying. Likewise, Pattarasaya
Kreuasuwansri certainly looks and acts the part as the shallow but photogenic
Pam. Indeed, the small, game cast does
what they need to do to keep the bloody mayhem on track.
has the potential to become a midnight movie
perennial. Poonpiriya incorporates his
New Year’s Eve countdown motif in clever ways, while Asavanond’s gleefully Mephistophelian
turn is tailor-made for cult-fandom. Recommended
for experienced NYAFF patrons, Countdown screens
tonight (7/3) at the Walter Reade Theater, but repent before you go.
Labels: NYAFF '13, Thai Film