I was very impressed by both The Eye, the original Hong Kong version, and the unrelated film that went by the title The Eye 2. They were directed by the Pang brothers, Oxide and Danny, who had a few other films to their credit by that time, this being one made while they were living in Thailand. The original title is Som and Bank: Bangkok for Sale, which makes a lot more sense than One Take Only and highlights the two lead characters. Both live on the darker side of Thai culture, but not too far.
Som is a prostitute who still hangs out with her girlfriends; Bank is a small scale drug runner who dreams of being a tough guy. They live only two floors apart in the same housing complex and occupy much the same space: early on we see them crossing paths all the time without actually talking to each other. They finally meet and fall in love, though naturally Som doesn't let on what she does for a living.
The film is highly stylised, especially in the action sequences, often edited in time with the music which is generally Prodigy style techno: lots of jerky repetitions like the editor of the film was scratching a record. It's effective but it doesn't feel anywhere near as groundbreaking as it feels like Pang was expecting it to be. In fact on occasion it's a more than a little annoying. The firefight is impressive though: confusing but deliberately and effectively so, just as the actual incident would have been to the characters.
The leads are both very good indeed, though as this is probably my fourth or fifth Thai film ever I don't recognise either of them. Som is Wanatchada Siwapornchai, and I was surprised to see that this is her only film. There's a lot of depth in what she brings to the part: she's believable in the various different facets of the role. She's a more complex character than Bank, who is a small fish in a big pond, always one step from being a long way out of his depth. He's played by Pawarith Monkolpisit, and he's very believable in convincing us that most of the decisions he's made in his life were bad ones.
Monkolpisit has only made one other movie according to IMDb, but it seems that IMDb is not as reliable when it comes to eastern actors. It would seem that Pawarith Monkolpisit and Pawalit Mongkolpisit are the same person, so there are other titles to look out for. It's the believability of these performances that makes the film worthwhile, because otherwise it isn't a patch on what the Pang brothers would do later on. In essence it's a very simple story jazzed up by editing and enrichened by the leads, and while there's much that's promising there's not much that really delivers.
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|I'm climbing the stairway to Cinematic Heaven to review everything in the IMDb Top 250 List, supposedly the greatest motion pictures of all time. Are they really? Find out here.|
|I'm also driving the highway to Cinematic Hell for the awesome folks at Cinema Head Cheese to post a review a week of the very worst films of all time. These are so bad that they make Uwe Boll look good.|
|I'm reviewing everything shown at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, now in its 9th year. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films and to my reviews of all 2012 films.|
|I'm also going to review everything I can from the Phoenix Film Festival, now in its 13th year. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films.|
|I reviewed all films shown at the independent horror film festival, Phoenix FearCon, now in its 5th year. Here's an index to my 2012 festival reviews.|