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
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save 44%
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
Terminator Genisys
2 Star Empire Rating
Magic Mike XXL
2 Star Empire Rating
Dear White People
4 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Hot Pursuit
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
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
100 Greatest Movie Characters
Week 2 of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

10 Things To Look Out For At Comic-Con
Empire's look ahead to this week's big panels

Mirror Match: 10 Movies Where Your Evil Twin Attacks
A new challenger enters… and it’s YOU (but with bad facial hair)

Please Explain! With Arnold Schwarzenegger...
Plus Emilia Clarke on pranks, smiles and 'The Robot'

Bonfire Of The Vanities: When Personal Projects Go Wrong
15 hubristic horrors that went straight to movie jail

Hollywood Jackanory: Stars Reading Things Out Of Context
From Ian McKellen vs. One Direction to Hugh Jackman vs. baking innuendos

Before And After: How 10 Books Changed On Their Way To Becoming Movies
...And how their authors reacted

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available 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)