"Greed is our downfall. I was watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The woman won a lot of money but wouldn’t stop playing. She lost and only got 30.000 Baht.""The tiger trails you like a shadow. His spirit is starving and lonesome. I see you are his prey and his companion."The experimental creator of "Mysterious Object at Noon" is back with another abstract gem, "Tropical Malady." This time we have a 2-parter connected by common themes and metaphors, a la Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express, equally casual but much slowly paced here. The first part of the film is set in everyday world. A gay soldier pursues a young country boy. The boy is most likely not gay, but he returns the attraction most of the time, probably because he is attracted to the soldier on another level (e.g. he is fascinated by the soldier’s uniform). One day, while the soldier is flipping through the boy’s photo album, suddenly the movie blacks out — enter part 2, a story ins…
When a young Thai soldier falls in love with a country boy, the lad disappears. But because of the intensity of his love, when the lad vanishes, the soldier must hunt in the Thai jungle for him. Although the love is "gay," it is not so much in the sexual meaning of that word as it is joyous. There is no nudity, and hardly any touching or kissing. This is an unusual film, as the first part is treated naturally, the second, with its own credits, is a haunting fantasy. The photography in daylight is banal and cluttered, with an excellent feel for Thailand’s countryside, but the night scenes are glowing. The work of several photographers were involved to create the difference. An extremely moving, honest, well-crafted film, with an interesting filmed commentary by the director and the actors.
Please do not make the same mistake as I did when I believed the positive critics this film received. Unfortunately the film is really bad and extremely boring, even though the two main characters seem to be quite good actors (but due to the "script" they are not allowed to show their talents). To those people who try to make it to some kind of supernatural experience which combines nature, soul, mystery etc. I can only say: Stop the esoteric bullshit. If you like nature it is far more preferable to go out of your house and enjoy it than to watch this extremely boring film where nothing is really happening and the second part is just pathetically dragging on and on. Just believe me, I am quite a moviegoer and like off mainstream films a lot. But this one is just an insult to your patience.
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