Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Noel's Movie Review: Slice

One of the glorious things about being involved in Grimm Up North is you can fully indulge all of your cinematic desires in films that you may otherwise have never gotten around to seeing. Often these movies will be deep within the horror genre, while others will toe the line with this and anything from sci-fi, comedy, drama and thriller.

Slice is a film that does just that, borrowing from both police procedural slashers like Seven and unrelenting coming of age tales like Slumdog Millionaire. Like Slumdog, director Kongkiat Khomsiri's story takes place in the present but recalls a past fraught with childish mischief and the cruelty of the adult world. But here, the modern day is unconcerned with romance and joy, but instead focuses on bringing a brutal serial killer to justice.

The story follows Tai, an incarcerated ex-cop who has been released and charged with the task of tracking down the murderer, who has taken to removing the genitals of his victims, cramming them where the sun don't shine and often disposing of them in a large red suitcase. It seems some of the behavior of the killer links to Tai's childhood friend Nut and when this link grows stronger it becomes clear he will have to look back at the troubled childhood they spent together if he is ever to see his criminal record wiped clean and be reunited with his wife.

Early on, Slice sets out its stall by appearing as traditional an eastern take on a western thriller as you would expect. Scenes are beautifully crafted and there is an element of suspense that hangs over a plot that, while certainly familiar, delivers plenty of shocks, kills and crime scene investigations.

However, at some point roughly halfway through, I became very aware that what I was watching was not the template for a US remake featuring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, but instead had shifted towards being an incredibly engaging coming of age drama. The story of Tai and Nut's background becomes such a huge part of the narrative that it threatens to run away with the film, only to be brought in to a spine-shattering climax that literally made me exclaim "No, fucking, way" at the top of my voice despite watching the movie alone.

Slice is an absolute gem of a movie that, while shifting slightly uncomfortably between genres occasionally, is nothing short of breathtaking. The beautiful golden locations of some of the flashbacks serve as a stark companion to the grittier neons of the modern street scenes. But this really just gives you more to watch.
Hailing from Thailand and without a release date in many countries, it's difficult to say when Slice will make it to cinemas or store shelves in the UK, but with a thoroughly absorbing story and a mind-blowing last act, you would do well to make a note of its name.

Noel Mellor

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