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Monrak Transistor Review

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Called up for National Service after his wife gives birth, Phaen is buffeted between a seedy nightclub boss and a cruel plantation foreman before some semblance of normality resumes.

★★★★

Based on Wat Wanlayangkoon's bestselling novel and dedicated to murdered '60s star Surapol Sombatcharoen, whose songs litter the action, this is a more appealing and less self-conscious stab at Thai retro than Tears Of The Black Tiger.

Called up for National Service after his wife gives birth, PÞn (Suppakorn Kitsuwan) is buffeted between a seedy nightclub boss and a cruel plantation foreman before some semblance of normality resumes.

Framing the action as a flashback told by a Bangkok prison guard, Pen-ek Ratanaruang opts for the broadest approach to the story's comic and melodramatic aspects. But such is Pen's winning fatalism that we accept even the more outrageous slings and arrows with as much equanimity as he does.

It's pure kitsch, but photographed with the same conviction that made Far From Heaven so magical.