Headshot ("Fon Tok Kuen Fah")
“The oddest noir thriller you’re likely to see this year (maybe any year)” — Elizabeth Kerr, HEROIC CINEMA
“A film of high style and assured cool... a sharp, taut, scrappy affair” — Jason Bailey, FOURTH ROW CENTER
A mysterious man writes on a typewriter in a dark room — instructions for a hit. Tul retrieves the information and proceeds. Once a policeman, he meticulously prepares his gun, cuts all his hair and dons the traditional Buddhist monk garb, a seemingly simple, yet perhaps personally prophetic disguise. Tul doesn’t know yet, but this will be his last assignment… for a while. Shot in the back of the head, he awakes nearly three months later to find his world literally turned upside down. Tul can now, as he puts it, see “the rain falling upwards”. Unfortunately for him, this peculiar ocular condition is merely a foretaste of the life-changing journey that awaits him. Tul is rapidly dragged back to the world a bullet to the head would undoubtedly have you leave behind. As Tul pieces together what lead him to his situation, things are not as they seem anymore. What if the hit was a set-up? More importantly, who is out to kill him on his first new assignment? Does it matter?
Ladies and gentleman, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is back. Awarded both Best Overall Film and Best Asian Film’s Gold honours in 2004 for the stunning LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE, Ratanaruang hasn’t exactly been sleeping on his laurels, but he is back with a genre film that finds the writer-director at his most exalted — back to the kinetic crime world of his early feature films. Based on Win Lyovarin’s novel “Rain Falling Up the Sky”, HEADSHOT complicates a fairly conventional thriller premise with an intensely rich patchwork of flashbacks, culminating into one of the most gripping character portraits put on screen. Nopachai Chaiyanam as Tul, who we come to know inside out, comes across as a deeply satisfying character, morally complex and increasingly layered as Ratanaruang takes us through the succession of events leading up to the fateful bullet. Through lost love, burgeoning spirituality and a hailstorm of bullets, Tul will come face to face with a most shocking realization: there is no right or wrong in this world, there’s just what you make of it. More than a visual gimmick, Tul’s skewed vision becomes symbol for his moral struggle and while part indictment of corruption in the Thai police institution, part action-packed philosophical journey, HEADSHOT is ultimately a beautiful film about the inevitably cyclical nature of existence, as told though an intense, gunfire-heavy cat-and-mouse chase.
— Ariel Esteban Cayer