Quirky, evocative Thai-Japanese co-production
OPENS JULY 30, CERT TBC, 108 MINS
Last Life In The Universe starts like Harold And Maude, with a morose young man’s farcical suicide attempt, and ends on an oblique grace note reminiscent of Hal Hartley. What happens in between is a shimmer of shifting genres and influences, part chaste romance, part ghost story, part culture-clash tale, even part mob drama when cult Japanese director Takashi Miike pops up as a colourfully outfitted gangster.
The suicidal Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) is a morose Bangkok librarian, trying to escape a shady past back in Japan. During another suicide attempt on a bridge, he sees a girl killed by a car and hooks up with her sister, Thai hooker Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak). He’s an obsessive neatnik, she’s a slob, but in a remote beach house the two draft a tentative romance, shot in a wash of liquid greens and blues by Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematographer Chris Doyle. Director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Monrak Transistor) here proves himself to be one of Asia’s hottest new talents.