Tears of the Black Tiger
Romantic interlude. Rumpoey and Dum have a tender moment between all the bloodletting.
dir-scr Wisit Sartsanatieng
with Chartchai Ngamsan, Stella Malucchi, Supakorn Kitsuwon, Arawat Ruangvuth, Sombati Medhanee, Pairoj Jaisingha, Naiyana Shiwanun, Kanchit Kwanpracha, Chamloen Sridang
release UK 24.Aug.01, US 12.Jan.07
00/Thailand 1h50

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
born under a wandering star Writer-director Sartsanatieng obviously has a soft spot for 50-year-old American Westerns, as this film overlays the distinctive storytelling style over a Thai tale of forbidden love. Dum and Rumpoey (Ngamsan and Malucchi) have been smitten since they were about 15 years old, but he's from a poor peasant family while her father is a community leader. And besides, they keep getting each other into trouble. When his father is killed, Dum runs off and joins a gang of vengeful bandits, gaining a notorious reputation as the Black Tiger. Rumpoey eventually settles for a loveless engagement to a tenacious young police captain (Ruangvuth), setting up a climactic dual between her two suitors, on opposite sides of society ... and the law.

The story is rather unremarkable, but the film's overwhelming sense of style and humour is great fun. Every genre cliche is here in all its glory. Shimmery lighting, impeccable make-up and swelling music mimic movie Westerns, while the lurid colours of the sets and costumes bring to mind the early years of Technicolor excess. It all hearkens back to the day when leading men were as glamorous as the women and picturesque sunsets looked like painted backdrops (and probably were). The acting is terribly over-the-top and hammy, but at least their lipstick and hair stay perfect no matter what! And the one nod to more recent films is the inclusion of, quite literally, geysers of gore; the bloodletting reaches epic proportions, getting increasingly comical until the gruesome finale, which still somehow manages to tie up the romantic story with heartfelt emotion. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable romp with echoes of familiarity ... and yet unlike anything you've ever seen or are likely to see again.
exaggerated gore cert 15 9.Aug.01

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