A hitman’s world is turned upside down, literally


© 2011 Local Color Films

Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Starring: Nopachai Jayanama, Celine Horwang, Chanokporn Sayoungkul

Awaking from a three-month coma after taking a bullet to the head, cop-turned-hitman Tul (Nopachai Jayanama) discovers that he now sees everything upside down. You might feel he got off lightly after enduring this inert, frequently incoherent thriller by Last Life in the Universe director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Working from a novel by Win Lyovarin, Ratanaruang has crafted what you might call a Buddhist noir, with Tul's condition serving as a laboured metaphor for karmic retribution – at least when Headshot remembers about it, which isn't often.

The first half of the film darts confusingly between past and present, 21 Grams style, to show how our upright police protagonist fell afoul of crooked politicians and ended up as a professional assassin; the second half, in which he hits the road with a surprisingly compliant hostage (Celine Horwang) and flirts with becoming a Buddhist monk, is both more linear and more ponderous. Lensed by Charnkit Chamnivikaipong, Headshot is always nice to look at, but it's oddly bereft of thrills – the action scenes are handled with little panache, and even when it reins in the flashbacks, it never gains any sense of momentum. Though Jayanama’s voiceovers attempt to inject some profundity, it’d take more than a dose of cod philosophy to rescue this mess.

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By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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