HEADSHOT Screening and Discussion
October 15, 2012
(2011) dir. Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, w/Nopachai Jayanama, Cris Horwang [105 min, digital presentation]
A darkly turbulent crime noir from Thai new wave director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, HEADSHOT is an existential thriller, ripe with shadowy paranoia that will turn your world upside-down, literally.
This disorienting game of cat and mouse is played out in present-day Thailand, where corruption runs rampant and the good die young. When Tul, a straight-laced cop, is blackmailed by a powerful politician he soon becomes disillusioned by the state of human nature and, in his vengeful condition, is recruited to become a hitman for an iconoclastic group aimed at eliminating those who are above the law. But when a devastating blow turns Tul’s vision upside-down, he finds himself engulfed by doubt, unaware of whether the condition is medical or a result of karmic retribution.
Enriched with social commentary that confronts the modern penal system, HEADSHOT is a smart, ethically oriented update on a classic genre. Rendered in the hands of a director who transcends convention, the film becomes a stylishly executed Buddhist neo-noir.
“The awesome shit’s awesome; the ponderous is ponderous; and the bloody corpses are arranged as artfully as wedding bouquets.” — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“A dreamy, elliptical neo-noir about a cop turned killer turned something else altogether.” — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times