Customer Reviews


29 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhist Noir
Fon Tok Kuen Fah (Rain Falling Up the Sky)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

There are dark movies whose darkness is purposeful. Noir films that are moving more than mysterious. Sad endings that are good endings. Suffering that teaches rather then thrills. Humor that is wicked but inevitable. The dark that is beautiful, regardless it's depths of hopelessness. These are...
Published 23 months ago by shaun brammer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Thailand Upside Down Cake
This movie is like Thai food: It is an acquired taste. It is an interesting mix of violence and silence. It is another world of culture. The hero is amazing to be able to outshoot five opponents while seeing everything upside down and being able to sense where danger is without looking. There were two plot points that are weak. At the beginning of the movie he is dressed...
Published 1 month ago by Camry Owner


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhist Noir, February 15, 2013
By 
shaun brammer (overland park, KS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Headshot (DVD)
Fon Tok Kuen Fah (Rain Falling Up the Sky)
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

There are dark movies whose darkness is purposeful. Noir films that are moving more than mysterious. Sad endings that are good endings. Suffering that teaches rather then thrills. Humor that is wicked but inevitable. The dark that is beautiful, regardless it's depths of hopelessness. These are the kinds of films that Pen-Ek Ratanaruang specializes in.
Fon Tok Kuen Fah, which translates to Rain Falling Up the Sky, but is named sensationally Headshot for westerners, is the third film of his I have had the pleasure of viewing. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by award winning author Win Lyovarin. Pen-Ek's two earlier works that I have viewed left lasting impressions on me. Ruang Talok 69, or 6ixtynin9 as released in the US, was a dark comedy on level with Pulp Fiction, but more believable. Last Life in the Universe became one of my all time favorite films, one that still haunts me to this day. Headshot will stay with me as well, as a blend of noir, pulp, art-house, and action all wrapped up in political/social commentary paper and bright ribbons of spiritual morality.
To explain Headshot is simple, it has a simple plot. However, like all things beautifully simple, it is hard to do. Nopachai Jayanama plays Tul, a police officer who won't comprise his morals. In the very corrupt climate of Bangkok this gets him into trouble. Part of this trouble is female. Supporting actresses, Chanokporn Sayoungkul playing Tiwa, and Sirin Horwang playing Rin, are the two women that help cause some of this trouble Tul suffers. Tul will be led through a few different life changing events, one which will be as an assassin for a vigilante group that is targeting the criminals and corrupt members of Thai society. Tul goes through a great deal of love and loss before a hit goes wrong and he is shot in the head. When waking up from his wound he finds his vision altered, he sees the world upside down. After which he wants to quit his assassin job but ends up running for his life, not with a great deal of success. Tul is capture by a group looking for him and tortured, in a scene that doesn't show much, but still makes you cringe. His torturer is played by my favorite Thai Hip-Hop star Joey Boy, whose real name is Apisit Opasaimlikit, who seems to have fun with his role. All these parts of the story take place at different times, the storyline jumps back and forth between past and present. If you are watching these transitions will be easy to follow.
There are two things one must keep in mind when watching a Pen-Ek film: they are steeped in Thai culture, and amidst any violence, sex, or other craziness, there are subtle themes that are the whole reason the movie was made. Do not take his films at face value. A perfect example is the cinematography. Pen-Ek uses lighting and shadow and angles all to wonderful effect, but it is not just window dressing, it is part of the themes being represented. It is these camera tricks that are telling the poetic story, not the dialogue so much. This is a common theme throughout Asian cinema; show, don't tell.
One such theme is corruption. The corruption that Tul uncovers, drug deals, human trafficking and pillars of society being involved in covering it up. The corruption of Tul himself, who turns to vigilante methods to bring justice to a failed system. The corruption of Thai women, who with talents and intelligence are turned into prostitutes by poverty and a society that doesn't value them, as embodied by Tiwa. Corruption is a huge issue in Thailand. Newspapers show all sorts of examples from politicians and their dirty deals to rich people getting away with homicide, as in the Red Bull scandal. It is a subject that many have addressed in multiple ways over the decades. Headshot takes some of the best criticisms and ties them neatly into the story, the uncontrolled capitalism, turning away from Buddhist values and taking on empty western ones, ignoring the suffering of others when you can do something to help. It's message is there is a wrong way to fight injustice and a right way.
Headshot also possesses references to Thai Buddhism in abundance in very overt ways, as when Tul disguises himself as a monk and when he actually becomes one. He is shot in the head and has his vision altered when he is disguised as a monk, to kill another human being, therefore he is not truthfully wearing the holy robes, thus he is punished for this. Later on he becomes a real monk and although he still pays his karmic debt, he is granted a profound clarity, but this time he wears the robes truthfully. There is also a deeper subtly to the expression of Buddhism in the film. When Tul ordains it is under a monk who is a white man. That is no coincidence. If Thais adopting empty western values is a theme and the film shows a man from such a society taking on the robes of Buddhism, the statement that doing such is a superior path is stated, but without shouting it. Show, don't tell. Also consider Tul's change in vision. During successful mindfulness meditation it is said that mountains and rivers will be mountains and rivers, until they change and no longer become mountains and rivers, after which they will return to being mountains and rivers once again. What this means is you take for granted the nature of things until you see their true nature. That is when they become unfamiliar to you, but this knowledge of the truth will become the familiar. Tul's upside down vision is a metaphorical journey to realization and his personal redemption.
For someone familiar with Thai society there will be little things that will add more flavor for the viewer, but that won't stop others from enjoying and understanding the film. If there is a fault with the film at all, it's how it's presented. Pen-Ek likes to start with the low and dirty and pull something beautiful from it, much like a lotus flower, known for growing in dark muddy waters. So, this film has two sides, one that is action and violence and sex, and the other that is the lesson, the realization. I am afraid most will focus on the heads side of the coin and not see what the tail is carrying for them. I stress to all who would view this movie, or any Pen-Ek film, to not take your eyes from it. Take it seriously and watch without interruption, so you can catch the swirling filth and beauty of humanities damning vices and redeeming virtues.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever take on action genre, June 7, 2013
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
This was a refreshing change from typical action movie. While there are the usual gun battles and blood, this movie used the aftermath of the main character's injury (a headshot) to begin to shift how he viewed the world and his place in it. So often, a traumatic event teaches us new things, and this movie plays off that truth to tell an interesting story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully exotic quick paced thriller, June 15, 2014
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
At times frenetic, which is good; but also some heavy old school plot cliches that are less so. Very watchable, you want to know what happens next, but there is a great deal of violence, which is very very good!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Thailand Upside Down Cake, December 30, 2014
This movie is like Thai food: It is an acquired taste. It is an interesting mix of violence and silence. It is another world of culture. The hero is amazing to be able to outshoot five opponents while seeing everything upside down and being able to sense where danger is without looking. There were two plot points that are weak. At the beginning of the movie he is dressed as a Buddhist monk and kills three men. Near the middle of the movie after he takes refuge in Buddhism, he asks the priest to disrobe him so he won't violate the garment by killing someone. Like men everywhere he is deaf, dumb and blind to the woman driving the car. It was a great plot twist that she turned out to be the daughter of the man who was killed at the beginning of the movie, but why the hero didn't figure out that she would take revenge for him killing her father and her brother is either a plot weakness or a masculine weakness.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Asian fusion., January 16, 2014
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
Nice direction and atmosphere. Guidebook via movie of the Thai streets. I would recommend this to a friend or two.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars good movie, January 11, 2014
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
Full of spins , I got lost a few times. All english sub-titles so if you don't like to read skip this. in all a good film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Very nice artsy camera work -- story no so., September 21, 2013
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
Very moody, very cool camera work, very moody sound, but the story is disjointed and becomes tedious. It's better than a 2 star but I sure can't give it a three. Good action, when there is any action.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising, July 30, 2013
By 
Michael J. Elson (South Amboy, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
Stumbled upon this film and found it very entertaining. I recommend watching. While the plot was a bit predictable about half way through, that doesn't take away from the fact that it is a good movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Great Modern Noir, July 4, 2013
This review is from: HEADSHOT (Amazon Instant Video)
Probably the only color noir film that captures the feeling of the old B&W classics. Following the narrative was at times challenging, but the disorientation added to the overall mood of the film. Like most foreign films, the conclusion doesn't cleanly wrap up all the loose ends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good guy gone bad, June 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Headshot [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Headshot is about a good cop who refuses a very large bribe to let a criminal go so the gansgsters set out to destroy the cop. The cop eventually is forced to become a paid killer as a result and is shot in the head. He survives and sees things upside down which is a very interesting idea, unfortunately it is never explored to it's fullest. He has so many enemies he has to stay on the run and kill to survive. The look of the film is Film Noir, dimly lit, dark charcaters, realistic, gritty and unpredictable. Recommended for all fans of Asain crime cinema and Film Noir.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Headshot
Headshot by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (DVD - 2012)
$29.95 $22.23
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.