Film Review: The Long Walk (2019) by Mattie Do

The US-born Laotian filmmaker Mattie Do is again on the pageant circuit along with her third characteristic “The Lengthy Stroll”. This arthouse-genre hybrid premiered at Venice Days sidebar of the 76th Venice Worldwide Movie Competition earlier than its North American premiere at Toronto and, having in thoughts Do’s fame for “Chantaly” (2012) and “Dearest Sister” (2016), it can journey past that each relating to the “common” movie festivals (particularly these “late night time” sections) and extra particular genre-oriented ones.

This acclaimed Lao drama/sci-fi/thriller can be out on VOD March 1, 2022 following a restricted US theatrical run that kicks off on February 18 from Yellow Veil Footage

As along with her earlier films, it’s a ghost story of types that follows some style conventions whereas additionally inspecting the (modern) Laotian society. The plot is realized by way of two timelines separated by 50 years. It opens within the close to future with an previous man (Yannawoutthi Chanthalungs) residing within the rural space, scavenging bike components for cash. There’s something sinister about his lonely existence, particularly with a notion that there’s a serial killer lurking within the space and him being one of many final individuals who noticed the most recent sufferer alive. The plot twists when the lifeless girl’s daughter (Vilouna Phetmany) and the police come to him asking for assist: apparently, he can communicate to the ghosts. One in every of them, a younger girl (the first-timer Noutnapha Soydara), really follows him…

The opposite timeline
is ready within the current previous, with a boy (Por Silatsa) discovering a
lifeless younger girl (Soydara, once more) within the swamp. It could be
his first contact with loss of life, however it won’t be the one one: his
mom (Chanthamone Inoudome) is sick with no likelihood of
restoration, whereas his father is basically absent, indignant or drunk and the
small vegetable backyard round the home wants tending to. How are
these two timelines linked, it’s for us to see within the two hours
of the operating time.

The script by Do’s common screenwriter Christopher Larsen is meticulously constructed and it strikes in circles of thriller, providing the viewer a justifiable share of purple herrings within the form of recurring particulars (the identical ghost, the identical home and among the mise-en-scene options are in each storylines) that also have to search out the place within the story. They ultimately do, however the feeling is a bit complicated for the primary half of the movie so persistence is strongly suggested.

The understated science fiction bits and items (funds are dealt with by way of microchips tattooed on the forearm of every particular person, supersonic aircrafts are flying over the world and the motorbikes are designed within the futuristic trend though their perform is mainly the identical) right here to focus on the category battle in nominally socialist Laotian society, however they aren’t used to their most extent. And mixed with equally frivolously used time travelling and ghost points intention so as to add one thing to the non secular dimension, however really accumulate the confusion. With an extra circle ultimately and a few plot twists, the sensation is that Mattie Do tried to be too intelligent for her personal good, regardless of how good of a storyteller she is, as she demonstrated in her earlier works. However the movie remains to be intriguing and thought-provoking.

One in every of Do’s fortes is her work with the actors, particularly with one among her “Dearest Sister” veteran Yannawoutthi Chanthalungs, whose character is probably the most advanced of the bunch and likewise harbours the a lot of the movie’s thriller. His performing is compellingly understated and his face exhibits the stoicism essential to endure the hardships of life. Vilouna Phetmany and Noutnapha Soydara are equally light and weak in fairly totally different roles and Por Silatsa’s restrained performing works nicely with the movie.

Visually fascinating, shot in saturated distinction colors (inexperienced and yellow for the exteriors, darkish brown and gray underneath the dim mild for the inside), nicely acted and narratively unorthodox, “The Lengthy Stroll” is a movie definitely worth the time spent on watching it. The movie additionally earnings from the time taken for considering about it. It won’t be the height of Do’s profession up to now, however it’s actually one thing new and contemporary.



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