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Simon Read [Film Festival 11.16.10] United Kingdom movie review news horror thriller

Year: 2010
Directors: Kongkiat Khomsiri
Writers: Kongkiat Khomsiri, Wisit Sasanatieng (story)
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 6 out of 10

A killer in a red cloak and hood stalks wealthy and influential urbanites in modern day Bangkok, cutting off the victim’s genitals and stuffing their corpses into bright red suitcases, leaving them floating in the river for the cops to discover. Corrupt, alcoholic police chief Papa Chin recruits disgraced former gangster Tai to play detective and track the killer down, since he has a unique childhood connection to the main suspect. Tai’s girlfriend Noi has been targeted by the killer too and hides out in a police safe house. Tai has 15 days to find the killer before he’s booted back into prison, where his status as a police informer will make life pretty tricky. “Slice” is a gory thriller with some incredibly well shot scenes of violence, but the constant interruption of a touching story told in flashbacks seems lifted from an entirely different movie and clashes awkwardly with the slick violence and suspense of the investigation.

As a child Tai was like any other boy, riding his bicycle, playing chicken with the other kids and getting into fights. However, once he meets and befriends the shy, innocent and effete ‘weird kid’, Nut, his status as one of the gang is threatened and he betrays his new friend repeatedly, always apologizing afterwards and making up for it in secret. This pattern dominates the flashbacks, set in the Thai countryside and exuding a sort of “Stand By Me” style wistful nostalgia. It’s all very well shot and played out by the young actors, but as we veer back and forth between the adult Tai tracking down his old friend - visiting nightclubs, mooching around hotel rooms and chain smoking as if his life depended on it – and this prettily shot extended back story, the film switches between exciting modern thriller, and tiresome childhood memories.

The best moments by far take place during Tai’s search for the killer, particularly the killings themselves which are stylishly executed and genuinely shocking, specifically a cocaine fuelled orgy taking place in a city nightclub and populated by the Bangkok elite. The Red Cloak sweeps in with two shotguns, several handguns and a bad attitude; blowing off heads and gunning down the yuppie stooges. As the camera beautifully glides around the carnage we catch a glimpse of the kind of film this could have been, and are allowed to marvel at director Kongkiat Khomsiri’s deft handling of such an outrageous action set piece. Sadly it’s followed by another extended flashback of young Tai and Nut flying kites and then being confronted by some bullies, again.

I guess I’ve made my point really, it’s two films in one and it’s just a pity that I liked the first one so much, but was left puzzled by the decision to linger for quite so long on what felt like the worlds longest back story for the second one. Perhaps the writers felt that the thriller section would be bolstered by an extended explanation of the killer’s traumatic childhood, but for me the best villains are without such complete explanation (think Michael Myers). There is also a ‘twist’ ending which, as anyone who knows what Thailand’s sex trade is famous for will tell you, comes as no surprise whatsoever and, given that there are so few cast members, is simple enough to presuppose.

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Rev Wright (11 years ago) Reply

Its was a damn sight more interesting, effective and emotionally engaging than The Reeds or 13hours. Thailand 1 Britain 0

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