Review: The Rocket (Bang Fai)

The Rocket
    
Director: Kim Mourdant
Cert: Club
Genre: Drama
Starring: Sitthiphon Disamoe
Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins

In rural Laos, Ahlo (the remarkable Sitthiphon Disamoe) survives childbirth, but his sibling does not. Tribal law demands that all twins are killed at birth – for every pair contains a bad seed – but his mother pleads his case and he is spared, a reprieve that later weighs heavily on the child. Although he is determined to prove his worth to his parents and grandmother, Ahlo’s good intentions frequently backfire. When his mother is killed in an accident while the displaced family make their way across their impoverished homeland, all fingers point towards our young hero. Might a rocket competition with a large cash prize offer a chance for redemption?

Kim Mordaunt’s fantastically moving first film effortlessly yokes a quasi-comic fairy tale to social realism: think Slummier-Dog Millionaire. The film, beautifully shot and with expertly mixed sound, draws most eyes towards Arlo, a protagonist worth rooting for.

Try not to fall off the edge of your seat during the film's nail-biting final scenes. And do watch out for Uncle Purple ( Sars Wars ' Suthep Po-ngam): he steals almost every scene.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic