Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

"Good"

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Review


Stunning cinematography goes a long way to making this surreal, difficult film watchable. Although there are moments of vivid honesty and a continual stream of light comedy, the story is fairly impenetrable for Western audiences.

In his isolated farmhouse, Boonmee (Saisaymar) is dying from a kidney condition. So his sister-in-law Jen (Pongpas) and nephew Tong (Kaewbuadee) come to spend time with him as he's cared for by his Laotian farmhand Jaai (Kugasang). Then one night at dinner, they're joined by Boonmee's wife Huay (Aphaiwonk), who died 19 years earlier, as well as their son Boonsong (Kulhong) who disappeared several years later and has now become a kind of monkey-man.

And when his death gets closer, Boonmee wants to be taken back to an isolated cave.

The paranormal elements of this film are so matter-of-fact that they're actually funny. Everyone's a little unsettled by Huay's ongoing presence, and no one quite knows what to say to the furry Boonsong. (You almost get the feeling that this could be remade as an Adam Sandler comedy.) But of course writer-director Weerasethakul has much more serious things in mind, commenting on the connection between humans, animals and plants while playing with mythological imagery that surely means more to those familiar with Thai culture.

Tonally, the film is virtually silent, with an almost subliminal soundtrack and minimal dialog. The camera is mostly still as well, taking in scenes with a lush sense of colour, sunshine and shadows. The result is eerie and dark, with a mystical sense of reality that expands far beyond the natural world. In addition to ghosts and monkey-men, there's also a talking catfish that has an intimate encounter with a princess (Mongkolprasert). But how all this links to Boonmee's story remains aloof and untouchable.

Clearly, the idea is that Boonmee's illness has drawn these spirits to him, so it's understandable that city-slickers Jen and Tong are a bit uncomfortable about all of this. And the film is made in a way that feels almost painfully slow and indulgent. But there are also wacky moments that make us laugh out loud, and some achingly beautiful imagery that will be very difficult to forget.



Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st September 2010

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 81 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Simon Field, Keith Griffiths,

Starring: as Tong, Jenjira Pongpas as Jen, Thanapat Saisaymar as Boonmee, Natthakarn Aphaiwonk as Huay

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.