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At the Gate of the Ghost (BLU-RAY)

At the Gate of the Ghost

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Running Time: 
1 hour, 47 minutes
Alter Ego

Better known by his stage name Mum Jokmok, Petchtai Wongkamlao is one of Thailand's most popular comedians.

With its amazing cinematography 2011 Thai film At the Gate of the Ghost is a visual treat.  Featuring powerful performances from the entire cast, it's easy to see why the film earned awards from both the National Film Association and the Bangkok Critics Assembly.  Now being released internationally, English and Spanish speaking audiences can finally see what the fuss is about.

Back in 1567 Pa Muang City was going through some rough times.  Earthquakes, massive fires, and an unkown epidemic wiped out more than half of the city's population.  Following a mysterious murder, well known bandit Singh Kham (Dom Hetrakul, Bangkok Dangerous) is arrested and publicly executed.  After serving as a witness during the trial, a young monk (Mario Maurer, The Love of Siam) decides to visit his father during these troubling times.  While seeking refuge from a storm the monk meets a woodcutter (Petchtai Wongkamlao, Ong Bak) and an "accidental" undertaker (Phongpat Wachirabanjhong, The Overture).  The three men share different perspectives from the trial until the truth is revealed.

Based on the Japanese classic Rashomon, At the Gate of the Ghost adapts the tale for Thai culture.  Portraying the warlord and his wife, Ananda Mathew Everingham and Chermarn Boonyasak (both from Eternity) are magnificent playing slightly different variations in each tale.  The pair are close friends in real life and their familiarity translates to the screen.  Aside from the performances, viewers will fall in love with the stunning visuals and gorgeous atmosphere.  Everything is so vivid in the film - I could almost feel the breeze at my skin and hear the rustle of leaves on the forest floor.

This release includes both English subtitles and an English voiceover track for audiences to choose from.  I prefer the subtitles so that I can hear the original work, but I did check out the English dub and it was decent if you're into that sort of thing.  Although a rarity for foreign films to include many special features, At the Gate of the Ghost has two short videos with a few interviews with the cast/crew and behind the scenes footage.  Fans of the visual style from House of Flying Daggers will want to check this one out, as well as anyone who simply wants to see something pretty on their HDTV.

Cody Endres
Review by Cody Endres
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