(Thailand, 2012)
North American Premiere
102 minutes, Bluray, in Thai with English subtitles
Directed by: Kongkiat Khomsiri
Starring: “Tao” Somchai Kemglad, “Noi” Krissana Sukosol Clapp, Pongpat Wachirabunjong

Helmed by Suphanahong Award – winning director Kongkiat Khomsiri (Muay Thai Chaiya, Slice), ANTAPAL is the gangster epic that critics are calling the best Thai movie of the year, and the kingdom’s answer to Goodfellas. Khomsiri’s savage sweeping tale, set in ‘50s and ‘60s Thailand, is translated literally as “gangster”, as if aiming to express some kind of distillated essence of the genre (which it is) in the Sam Peckinpah/Walter Hill classic mode… its title makes a promise that it dutifully keeps: there will be as much blood, violence, sex, dishonor, swagger and backroom scheming as can be crammed into a film of this vein. His star, Thai-American actor Krissada Sukosol Clapp (13: Game of Death)—slim, dark, raw yet perfectly tailored—makes sure of that, and glamorizes the thug life in a way that makes you want to go out there, live it up, and just… just… beat up someone or something (not recommended).

A singularly bloody take on the ruthless world described in Nonzee Nimibutr’s début feature, Dang Bireley’s Young Gangsters in 1997, Khomsiri’s grand version of the story, based on real-life criminals, is punctuated with documentary segments in which “survivors” from the era are interviewed and muse nostalgically about a past presented as a heroic, mythical age. Structured around these sections, ANTAPAL opens with the takeover of a new gang turf, earned in a vicious knife duel: mobster Dang (Somchai Kemgald) and his best friend Jod (Krissada Sukosol Clapp) assume control of the bars, casinos and other underground businesses of a rival gang. Trouble soon knocks at their door when bull-headed, loose-cannon “Bottle- Bomb” Pu challenges Dang’s leadership. What this means is the usual fare and fate of the gangster life: war, vengeance, and bloodshed…

A military coup orchestrated by Sarit Thanarat brings a new, implacable order: the Field Marshal promptly sets out to clean up the streets of Bangkok and its entrenched gangster culture—rooted in violent rituals, a James Dean fixation, and a general fondness for movie-going. Caught in the crackdown, Jod is sent to jail. When he is released, he is a changed man with a noble determination to make things right. But the times have also changed: friends and foe are long gone, the world and history itself have moved on. Knowing no other life, he returns to his old gangster ways.

Thursday July 4, 8:15PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets