Legend of Suriyothai
Directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol
Starring M.L. Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, Johnny Anfone, Mai Charoenpura
Running Time: 185 minutes
film is a lot closer to home to me than it would be for
many others. I lived in Thailand when I was 7 and 8 years
old, and my memories of the place are still extremely vivid.
I still remember some of the language, and I will never
forget the architecture and distinct culture of the place.
Unfortunately I have never had a chance to really delve
into Thai film, probably because not much is available to
me. This film happens to be the biggest blockbuster in the
history of Thai film, and just so happens to be my first
Thai film experience since I was a child. For that reason,
I probably enjoyed this film more than my review makes it
Legend of Suriyothai is a beautiful film. It succeeds in
highlighting the glory and the beauty of Thailand, and does
so with extraordinary locations, adequate cinematography,
wonderfully constructed sets, and some great costume designs.
The film does have several plot problems and suffers from
some poor acting. It also may seem a bit amateurish and
significantly different from Western historical epic. Even
with the film's problems, there are some fantastic shots,
some moving scenes, and some great eye candy that make this
film a worthwhile experience.
greatest character in this film is the Thai culture. In
fact, this is pretty much the embodiment of Thai culture,
because it's subject matter is one of Thailand's most revered
heroes. It also takes a look into Thai history, albeit a
slightly distorted picture. The most impressive aspect of
the film is the architecture, which the filmmakers did a
great job at capturing. Thai buildings are very unique and
beautiful to see. The film is just a treasure to look at.
are several problems with the plot. First of all, it is
too convoluted. There are too many political backstabbings,
too many characters, and most of the plot twists have little
to do with the conflict with Burma, or with the fate of
Suriyothai. In that respect, the film has some mistaken
identity. It establishes itself early on as being a chronicle
of her life, however she is mostly forgotten during the
1st and 2nd acts, and doesn't reemerge as a major character
until near the end of the film. This poor development fails
to develop the protagonist or the conflict with Burma, which
results in the viewer not caring as much about either. There
is a large battle scene against Burma during the film that
almost doesn't seem like it belongs, because they hardly
established any confict other than internalized.
the exception of the film's villain Srisudachan, the acting
is quite wooden at times. Perhaps this is something I am
able to pick up on because of my Thai exposure, but I noticed
a lot of the dialog was delivered in a wooden tone. There
are several long scenes where plenty of dialog is exchanged
between characters, but there is hardly any movement in
the character's bodies, or any emotion in the character's
subtitling is also quite poor. Most people probably would
not pick up on this, but I do still it is worth noting,
as it does hurt the story. The translation is just downright
horrible on this film. There are several occasions of poor
word choice, and sometimes the subtitle is outright wrong.
A good example is a scene where a character walks in says
hello. The scene is subtitled "I am not an enemy."
also mention that this film is extremely graphic. Some of
the bloodshed just wouldn't happen with an American film.
I found myself being reminded often of Tarantino's Kill
Bill, only Tarantino's bloodshed was exaggerated and partly
for show. Not the case with Suriyothai.
film really does have some moving moments. There is one
scene where a boy-king is executed that is extremely powerful,
but not in a manipulated sense. There are several other
memorable scenes, some of which are reminiscent of The Last
this is an amazing film. The fact that a film of this scale
came from Thailand makes it even more impressive. I can
definitely say that this film is like no other you've seen
before, and if you aren't familiar with Southeast Asian
culture, you are in for a special experience.