"If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it..." City boy meets country girl, city boy woos country girl, country folk get all suspicious of city boy. Quintessential art-house film. Not a bad thing, really. Just not a great thing. But many good things: no special effects, top-notch cinematography, and a landscape that is at once both beautiful and desolate. In a way, the woman mirrors the landscape.
I almost abandoned this movie halfway through, becoming restless with the glacial pace and the too-soggy, theatrical romance in a small town. But I'm glad I stayed for the third act: unlike others here, I thought the contrast between the violence and drift of the world with beauty and humanity made the film soar. The caressing camera work and subtle framing, common with Thai directors, rewards observation.
The power of nature really resonates with this beach town still dreary from the 2004 Tsunami, and the love story feels like sunlight breaking through the clouds. Consider the shots of the cascading waves, and the way Ton and Na are enveloped by the landscape in the scene where she says "hold me." Almost a perfect film, but the ending shifts away from the delicate sense of hope we find throughout the earlier parts.
This film draws easy comparisons to Tsai Ming-liang with its slow and deliberate pacing, quietly devastated characters, stifled sexuality, and profound sense of alienation--there is even a watermelon! It examines how a community is inexorably tied to its environment by the tragedy of its past. And maybe there is a certain comfort in embracing the certainty of disappointment and the persistence of hope.
A good film, but there were many things that prevented it from being great. The story and conflict felt a little dry, leading to an ending that ultimately felt a bit forced and directionless. But there's still lots to love here. The town itself was absolutely beautiful, which was really brought out by the camera work and flow of the plot. To put it simply, the visual aspect is very memorable, while the story is not.
Gentle and poignant portrayal of life in a coastal village post Tsunami. The film definitely had potential to be really good but the director stuck to his restraint approach never letting the drama get out of control, which always did not work in the favor of the story. Could have been better but considering this was debut feature I give 4 stars.