Wonderful Town

"Excellent"

Wonderful Town Review


A subtle and understated love story set against the backdrop of a Thai coast recovering from the tsunami disaster of 2004, Wonderful Town is both tranquil and tense. Boy meets girl and falls for girl, but it's impossible to ignore the eerie sense that ghosts of the tragedy are hovering nearby.

The only thing architect Ton (Supphasit Kansen) has on his mind when he arrives in the sleepy village of Takua Pa is the installation of toilets in the new resort hotel that's being built alongside the ruins of a hotel that was obliterated by the wave. Choosing to stay at a quiet and somewhat worn out hotel in town, he meets Na (Anchalee Saisoontorn), the sweet-natured proprietress who seems to do little more in life than change the sheets and hang up the laundry to dry on rooftop wash lines.

As the two constantly cross paths at the hotel, they begin a long and almost wordless dance of attraction that takes most of the film to progress to the level of a PG-rated kiss. Ton is a lonely city guy who finds peace of mind away from the smog and noise of Bangkok. Na is a lonely "southern girl" who is dominated by her brother and other hotel workers whom she is supposed to be managing.

How will this gentle romance play out? While no obvious impediments are thrown into the way of a happy ending, the film has a disturbingly ominous tone. Although southern Thailand is one of the world's most gorgeous sun-splashed locales, this vision of the region is overcast, humid, and constantly spitting rain. Construction workers warn Ton not to explore the ruins of the wrecked hotel because "it's haunted," and there's also the constant presence of a small gang of bored local boys who do little more than buzz by on motorcycles all day shooting dirty looks at anyone who dares to glance their way.

Both Na and Ton have unexplained connections to other people in other places, but it remains unclear who those people are and how strong the connections may be. It's one more minor but disturbing threat to the ultimate happiness of the couple, who would just as soon spend all day sitting on a blanket and staring at palm trees across the rice paddies.

This "wonderful town" is paradise, but writer/director Aditya Assarat wants us to sense that it's a paradise lost, at least temporarily, and it's populated by damaged and haunted souls who may not be able to get what they want in this life. Assarat's craftsmanship is masterful, generating intense suspense out of seemingly nothing at all. Laundry drying in a breeze has never looked so threatening.

Invisible boyfriend!



Wonderful Town

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th July 2008

Distributed by: Kino International Corp.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Aditya Assarat

Producer: Soros Sukhum, Jetnipith Teerakulchanyut

Starring: Anchalee Saisoontorn as Ton, Supphasit Kansen as Na

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