Saturday, September 03, 2011

LOSE (2011, Watcharapol Saisongkroh, A/A-)

You can watch this film here (no English subtitles):

There are a few things I like in this film, including:

1.The acting of Thitipol Rojanarowan as Golf in the film. I think his acting is quite natural. He is a real talent to watch. Golf is a kind of guy who is not expressive. He doesn't express his feelings through violent actions, strong words, or burst of tears. He is quite reserved, thus it is difficult for any young actors to play this role successfully. But I think Thitipol does a very good job in conveying the happiness, disappointment, and sadness of Golf via his eyes and his face.

However, though Thitipol is successful in playing this role, somehow I feel the film or the script of the film doesn't use or exploit his talent as much as I wish it should do. :-)

I mean I like his character very much. It should have been easy for me to feel connected with this character, because I used to experience the same kind of things that Golf experiences, such as falling for someone who belongs to a friend, being hurt by a close friend, or feeling that friendship may end because of the romantic relationship of a friend; but somehow I don't feel totally involved with this character, and I'm not sure why.

I think I might have given this film A+++++, if the film could dig deep into the feelings of Golf, especially the hurt that he experiences from falling for his friend's girlfriend and from being wrongly accused by his best friend. I think Thitipol has the ability to express those hurt feelings and other things that may make Golf a well-rounded character or look like a real human being. It's up to the filmmaker and the scriptwriter to make the best use of Thitipol's talent.

2. The beautiful cinematography and the fluid camerawork. I think the cinematography in this film is quite beautiful and its beauty is not suffocating or too intentional. However, I think some close-up scenes are a little bit too close.

I think Watcharapol's skill as a cinematographer has advanced a lot from last year. He's still very young. If he can shoot a film like this now, I'm sure he will be a good cinematographer in the future.

3.I like it very much that the film is not overdramatic. I especially like the opening scene when we see the normal activities of students. Many scenes in the film look more realistic than I expected. I mean these scenes are not really realistic, but I had expected that many films made by Thai high-school students would look melodramatic, so I can say that LOSE is not as melodramatic as I expected.

4.I like the ending of the film, or the way the film ends. The film could have ended more melodramatically, but it doesn't end like that.

I also like it very much that Golf doesn't get the girl. Judging from the girl's behavior near the end of the film (taking something without informing the owner properly), I think Golf is lucky not having a girlfriend like that. Hahaha.

5. I like that the flashback scenes near the end of the film are not repetitive, because these flashback scenes are not the scenes we have seen before in the film. However, that means I don't like the flashback scene in the middle of the film when Golf tries to decide whether he should give his doll to Fon or not. I mean this flashback scene is repetitive and may be redundant. I understand that it makes the audience understand clearly what Golf is thinking about and why he decides like that. But I would have loved it much more if there was no flashback scene in that moment, and the camera just lingered on Golf's face for one minute while he is thinking. It's just my personal taste: I like films which show the faces of the characters while they are thinking, but don't tell us straightforwardly what they are thinking about, such as SECRET DEFENSE (1997, Jacques Rivette), ONLY HUMAN (2009, Rouzbeh Rashidi), or TIME WITHIN TIME (2009, Menno Otten).

In conclusion, I think LOSE is a good film that doesn't quite fit to my personal tastes, and I'm not sure why. Maybe the story of the film is not my style. The "non-melodramatic" tone of the film is a good thing, but the film would have been more powerful as a dramatic film or a realistic film if the filmmaker/scriptwriter could find a way to dig deeper into the human qualities of his characters. I think it's just because the filmmakers are too young now. I'm sure Watcharapol will find a way to make more powerful films in the future. LOSE makes me feel certain that Watcharapol will be a good cinematographer, and I hope that life experiences, both good and bad ones, that await him in the future will help him create stories which are more powerful and great films which show us the deep understanding of human beings. I will wait and see.

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