Film review Monsoon (12A)
PUBLISHED: 10:19 17 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 17 September 2020
Gentle film about dislocation explores Vietnam’s national identity but its quiet strength becomes aimless by the end
It opens with a god’s eye view looking straight down at a busy Saigon crossroads, all the cars and scooters below jostling for position and trying to squirm their way through the commotion.
It’s a perfect opening, encapsulating the dichotomy of Hong Khaou’s approach: a piece of quiet cinema set in a hectic location where nothing ever seems to be still or at peace. It also mirrors the distanced standpoint of its protagonist, Kit (Golding), returning to the country of his birth that he hasn’t visited since he was six years old. Unable to speak the language, he is a tourist in his own country.
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An odd comparison but there’s a similarity to Lost In Translation, in the way it captures the odd thrill of being adrift in a foreign land.
The gentle way the film explores Vietnam’s national identity, a billboard of optimism and future prosperity posted up over a brutal wartorn past, is very fulfilling.
But, as it goes on, Khaou’s film becomes aimless and needs, occasionally awkward, dialogue to make its points.
Directed by Hong Khaou. Starring Henry Golding, Parker Sawyers, David Tran and Molly Harris. In cinemas. Running time: 85 mins.
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