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Thailand, 2011, 105 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Asian, Crime, Drama, Medical/Health, Psychological, Thriller
Program: The Watching Hour
DIRECTOR: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Producer: Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Pawas SawatchaiyametEditor: Patamanadda YukolScreenwriter: Pen-Ek RatanaruangCinematographer: Chankit ChamnivikaipongPrincipal Cast: Nopporn Chaiyanam, Sirin Horwang, Chanokporn Sayoungkul, Apisit Opasaimlikit, Krerkkiat Punpiputt
Tul (Nopachai Jayanama) was a straitlaced cop in contemporary Bangkok before he was unjustly imprisoned. After his release, he’s recruited as an “assassination expert” for an organization targeting above-the-law criminals and corrupt politicians. Three months after surviving an on-the-job shot to the head, Tul awakens from a coma seeing the world upside down.
Despite his new impairment, Tul tries to go back to what he knows. But it is not just his literal sense of vision that has flipped; his worldview is starting to change, too—his heart, as he puts it, is not in it anymore. Since his near-death experience he is unsure whether his new way of seeing the world is a result of a brain injury or some twist of karmic fate, and he decides to leave his life as a hit man behind. But as much as he tries, he can’t seem to escape the violence, and quickly finds himself turning from assassin to target.
Headshot doesn’t shy away from the violence inevitable in its genre, but director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and director of photography Chankit Chamnivikaipong create strikingly stylish and artfully composed visuals. The action-packed film finds time to reflect on the consequences of killing for a living in the context of Thai Buddhist philosophy. Headshot is a unique take on an old genre that is at once both modern and classic.
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