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've seen the plot before, at least in some fashion. A man and a woman meet under tragic (or tragicomic) circumstances. They are complete opposites, but begin an unconventional, semi-romantic relationship. It took me the whole movie to think of where I had seen it, but I did finally come up with a title (Monster's Ball). So I've seen the plot before. It's been done before. But it hasn't been done too often, and I tend to like stories like this. Besides, it's all in the way it's done, and, man, is this done right. Tadanobu Asano, best known as the masochistic villain Kakihara of Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer, plays a withdrawn Japanese man living for unspecified reasons in Thailand. He works in a library and the walls of his meticulously organized apartment are lined with stacks of books. Through a couple of events, which are too good to spoil, he meets with polar opposite Sinitta Boonyasak, a Thai girl who works dressed up as a Japanese schoolgirl, and is probably something of a prostitute. Asano moves in with the girl and there is a connection (in that order). This is a subtle film that flows like a gentle brook. Christopher Doyle, easily the best cinematographer working today, lends his impeccable style to the picture (director Ratanaruang says many kind words about him in a 20 minute interview on the DVD), and the music, by Hualongpong Riddim, is simply amazing. Takashi Miike himself appears late in the film in an amusing role, and he's given the film's best line. Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's direction is truly impressive, and his attention to detail is particularly worth praising. It's a wonderful film, one that will live with me a long time.
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