While it was a big hit and all at Cannes last year, American audiences might find something ill with this Malady. The Thai film's first of two storylines involves the budding relationship between a soldier and a farm boy (Banlop Lomnoi and Sakda Kaewbuadee, respectively). Their semisecret, prolonged courtship is little more than hand-holding and heads resting on shoulders or laps.
Then, suddenly, Kaewbuadee disappears, and following a brief recounting of a Thai legend, Lomnoi is traipsing through the jungle hunting a strange beast that appears to possess the spirit of his lost love. That's where most audiences will get lost, too. Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's approach to gay love, Thai style, is dissatisfying. And while his mix of the earthy and the atavistic may work intellectually, it doesn't satisfy onscreen. You can't argue that the images are occasionally arresting, but in this case, that's not enough to make us fall for this one.
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