Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 70%
Empire
Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Thanapat Saisaymar
Jenjira Pongpas
Sakda Kaewbuadee.
Directors
Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Screenwriters
Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Running Time
114 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
A Fuller Life
3 Star Empire Rating
Futuro Beach
4 Star Empire Rating
Tokyo Tribe
2 Star Empire Rating
Honeytrap
2 Star Empire Rating
Pheonix
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
Long Good Friday, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Thailand's Palme d'Or winner


submit to reddit


Plot
Dying of kidney failure and surrounded by family, Boonmee (Saisaymar) undergoes multiple reincarnations as “past people” guide him from his hut back into the jungle…


Review
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Cannes wouldn’t be Cannes without some armpit-fanning controversy, but in an oddly pulse-steadying year, it was left up to 2010’s Palme d’Or winner to get blood circulating. Not one critic backed it. Some greeted it with folded arms. “I have seen it twice,” yawned L’Express’ Eric Libiot. “I was bored twice.” Even president Tim Burton felt the need to justify his choice. “The world is more Hollywood-ised,” he said. “This came from another perspective… something you don’t normally see.”

Sounds like an exotic trinket found on holiday. Why not? Uncle Boonmee — for it is he — is as close to the US movie-going experience as Jupiter is to a bowl of carrots. There’s no narrative logic, no musical score and the drama, if you can call it that, is of the palest tint. It’s destined to divide: you’ll either be embalmed by its slow-motion spell or ponder whether your popcorn’s been Rohypnoled.

That mouthful of a title acts as a succinct plot synopsis. First, we meet Uncle Boonmee on his deathbed in a remote forest hut. As he fades, we recall his past lives. These unfold in a baffling variety; his dead wife appears as a ghost; his lost son emerges from the forest as a red-eyed Sasquatch; and, in an entirely unannounced interlude, a princess enjoys a thundering orgasm with a catfish. All of this plays out in a naturalistic tone verging on the deadpan — on seeing his ghost-wife, the first thing Uncle B. asks is, “Have you eaten?”

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who may or may not have enjoyed a previous life as today’s Countdown Conundrum, has crafted a film that drifts like mist: all long shots and languid edits, which, when combined with the ambient soundtrack’s constant insect chirruping, causes it to drift through you like an out-of-body experience; its mysterious rhythms are in total harmony with its enigmatic themes of soul transmigration.

In the end, it’s a film you feel rather than understand — it zones into your subconscious and, if you grant it access, soaks in and stays there. Those red eyes gazing from the rainforest will follow you into your dreams...


Verdict
A gentle trance-out and the strangest Palme d’Or winner in a while.


Reviewed by Simon Crook

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Empire Star Rating

one of the years best films

Do not listen to Empire's review of this film - they have got this one wrong. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 23:02, 10 March 2011 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
40 Of The Unlikeliest Movie Character Posters
Would you put these one-sheets on your wall?

Who Is The Vision, Anyway?
An introduction to Avengers: Age Of Ultron's newest addition

Jenny Agutter: Role by Role
From Tin to Captain America to The Railway Children

80 Of The Best Movie Star Adverts
From Sly Stallone selling bread to Hugh Jackman dancing for iced tea

Matthew Weiner Reveals 7 Mad Men Secrets
The showrunner on The Beatles and that lawnmower

Empire's Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review
Our verdict on what could be the biggest film of the year...

The 15 Most Controversial Alternate Endings
How some of your favourite films could have finished...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 70%
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)