›› Bangkok Love Story - Pheuan, Guu rak meung waa! - Buddy, I love you man!
a melodramatic, if beautifully shot tale of gay love
Mehk aka Cloud, a Bangkok hitman with a-liking for taking out life's rotten eggs, is hired to kill Itt aka Stone; a good looking and as it turns out a good guy all round, who happens to know something that others would prefer him not to. Refusing to carry out an unjust hit, a shoot-out between Cloud, Stone and the local Mafia ensues, one that results with an injured Cloud fleeing to the safety of his rooftop hideout, accompanied by Stone who takes an unexpected interest in nursing him back to health. Finding themselves alone together for days on end, a sexual tension develops between the two, one destined to explode in a passionate encounter in which homosexual emotions play havoc with the hitherto heterosexual mindset of a loner, now forced to come to terms with his love for another man. (Ring any bells?).
Complete with the almost requisite music styled video montage, let alone the leading men stripped down to their trunks for what seems like a good half of the film, this lush cinematic experience will falter for some only by way of its melodramatic nature. Thankfully Rattanaballang Tohssawat as Cloud and Chaiwat Thongsaeng as Stone give remarkably
heartbreaking portrayals of their respective characters, inparticular Thongsaeng whose aching longing for a man seemingly too hard to give into the emotions of his heart, is unnecessarily preached to you by an OTT score and here cue a series of violins and obbligato vocal work.
That said, this is still a captivating, but ultimately tragic tale of gay love from writer and director Poj Arnon, one exquisitely captured thanks to the stunningly artistic slow motion cinematography of Tiwa Moeithaisong. Then again and whatever way you look at it, this ranks as a Thai gay love story like no other. For without a ladyboy in sight, this heart-rending work showcases the story of a hitman with a heart, only one who finds that his plans of earning enough money to provide a comfortable life far removed from the Bangkok slums, for his HIV positive mother and brother, thrown into disarray when his latest mark turns out to be the love of his life. That Stone's life is equally turned upside down, when in falling for Cloud, his love for the beautiful Saai aka Sand hits the rocks, only adds to the ever increasing twists and turns of a convoluted plot, one whose final reel has more tragedies than what you can shake a histrionic screenwriters' keyboard at!
For if there is a drawback to be had here, then it has to be that this feature is trying too much, too much perhaps to be the Thai equivalent of Brokeback Mountain and of a love that will never grow old. Hauntingly tragic by nature, over melodramatic by narrative, but beautifully shot none-the-less. Need more be said?
screened as part of the 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2008