Montreal Film Journal

FUN BAR KARAOKE

I had never ever heard of this film anywhere before the day I saw it. It was during the Montreal Film Festival, and there were lots of posters everywhere. The poster of this film immediately caught my eye: it shows an Asian guy with sunglasses sitting on a toilet and aiming a gun, and the title is written over him. I thought it looked unusual, and it is! This is one weird film. The storytelling is very puzzled. It takes a while before you figure out the connection between the different events. But it's well written and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's direction is awesome. He's got a very cool visual style. The movie is filled with cool details, references, in-jokes, original camerawork and humor. The film caught my eye right from the opening: in a totally white room, an old Thai man is dancing with a sexy woman in a red thong on some swinging music when a girl arrives and shoots him dead.

Through different situations, we get to some interesting people from Bangkok. First there's Pu, a cute and funny casting agent who has recurring dreams of her deceased mother. Her dad is a womanizing, Hawaiian shirt wearing, beer drinking and karaoke singing dude. He's a party guy who just wants to have fun. But his fooling around with Yok, the sexy girlfriend of a mobster, might get him into trouble. Pum is Pu's best friend. She's a charming and fun loving clerk in a 7-11 who has some strange relatives and a funny way of telling things. Finally there's Noy, who works for the Mob but really dreams of moving to the United States.

The actors portraying these characters are all very talented. The guys have a lot of personality and the girls are cute and witty. The music is excellent. American scores are generally similar, but here, the music is very original, mostly because it's exotic. This film is a lot of things at the same time. It's a hip comedy, a gangster movie, an unusual love story, a tale of superstition and premonition... I've never seen a movie quite like this. It's a very entertaining, always surprising movie.