Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
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
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
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


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  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)