6inxtynin9 review

:. Director: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
:. Starring: Lalita Panyopas, Tasanawalai Ongartittichai
:. Running Time: 1:55
:. Year: 1999
:. Country: Thailand


Among the Asian countries that have emerged on the international film scene these last few years, Thailand seems to have its own cinematic voice, offering finely crafted pieces bathed in some intriguing atmospheres. Along Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Tropical Malady, Blissfully Yours), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is probably one of the most emblematic Thai filmmakers, mostly thanks to his—hypnotic—latest film, Last Life in the Universe.

Released in 1999, 6inxtynin9, which is Ratanaruang's second film, centers on a lonely young woman, Tum (Lalita Panyopas), who after being laid-off discovers a bag full of money in front of her door. After a rather brief moral dilemma, she decides to keep the money and leave town but the intrusion of two gangsters in her apartment will transform the shy girl into a pretty cold-blooded killer.

Shot in a minimalist way, with little dialogue, 6inxtynin9 aims at showing how a regular girl can get out of such a dangerous situation without any particular skill, contrary to most modern heroines as gloriously incarnated by Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) or Jennifer Garner (Elektra, Alias.) Tum is fragile, withdrawn, almost invisible and it comes as a surprise to witness her getting her adversaries, one after the other, with the coldness of an assassin. Almost the entire film takes place in her small apartment and those who saw Takashi Ishii's bore Freeze Me released one year later will notice similarity in the settings.

The mix of absurdity, violence and dark humor brings Ratanaruang closer to Spanish enfant terrible Álex de la Iglesia (Ferpect Crime, Perdita Durango) with a touch of Tarantino even though the premise, a bag of money and reversed door # (thus the title) is in the tradition of Hitchcock's cinema. While highly entertaining, 6inxtynin9 is nothing else than an amusing genre exercise, an early work, which despite garnering a few festival prizes, remains in the shadow of Ratanaruang most ambitious achievement, Last Life in the Universe.

  Fred Thom

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