What are you supposed to do when you are unexpectedly offered Bt100 million (US$2.8 million)? It is your unluckiest day - your car has just been taken back by the trust company. And your boss has just given you a white envelope (Thai symbol of being fired). Your mother also needs you to provide the money for your sister’s tuition fee. Suddenly, you receive a mysterious call asking you to join an online 13-quiz game with a huge bonus. You start from swatting an annoying fly buzzing around your face and then you have to win the next 12 challenges. Easy as pie? Without hesitation, you grasp the chance. But as the game rolls on, you become almost like a monster, rather than a human being. You must eat shit or kill a dog, and it is already too late for you to turn back. And what for the final challenge?
13-Beloved is garnered as the top three best films of the year. The second feature from Thailand’s youngest director, Chookiat Sakveerakul, shows his mastery with its good plot, excellent performance from the lead actor, and tight editing. Based on a famous comic book, The 13 Quiz Show, the storyline not surprisingly and easily catches the audience’s attention and keeps them in their seats. But director Chookiat Sakweerakul enhances it with fresh, unpleasing and merciless image construction. Excrements, fresh pig’s legs used as weapons, a rotten corpse carried by the protagonist on his back… Warning! This is the most vomit-inducing film one can expect. So don’t see the film right before or after your meal.
All the characters are smartly put in an interconnected chain, like the present internet model which is also the plot’s backdrop. Each character is constructed either as a player and as prey, or both. Similarly, the fast pace of the running of the game matches very well with the tragic part of the story. What happens to a human being under the technology-ridden world?
Lead actor Krissada Sukosol has gone a long way in his acting career - winning almost every local best actor award. Krissada nevertheless smartly catches the underdog world of a man with no luck, unexpectedly falling into blood and wastes, despite being born into a high-class family and getting fame as an indie singer. Director Sakveerakul softly plays with the use of cinematic language and symbol – the protagonist’s first deal is offered on the 14th floor, which means the 13th floor. In Thai culture, 13th floor is skipped due to its significance of bad luck.
The film contains the paradigm of entertainment required by Hollywood. Thus, the Hollywood Weinstein company picked up the remake rights. But if you want to know how a third-world country like Thailand sees the modern world of internet and technology, this is a good introduction.