A brief theatrical run is a glowing throwback to mid-20th Century Hollywood, Thailand style.
Tears of the Black Tiger, directed and written by Wisit Sasanatieng, is part melodrama, part western, that could very well reach cult status.
The story sounds somewhat lifted from Shakespeare with Dum, a country guy, and Rumpoey, a city girl, becoming enamored with one another as students.
Dum becomes driven as a bandit who loves playing the harmonica after his father is murdered. While he is known as the Black Tiger, Rumpoey is strongly prodded to marry a bland officer intent to stop this troubled, lovelorn avenger.
Strangely absorbing, Tears lets the viewer savor a stylized production, perhaps modeled after the works of Sergio Leone and Douglas Sirk. The hues stand out in day-glo, the gun battles are riveting and penetrating, especially in a well-staged ricocheting sequence. And, the music resonates with the percussion and strings from a master like Ennio Morricone.
The dialogue is rendered with efficient, if absurd fluidity, as the gravity accelerates into a violent climactic confrontation that had an oddly sheer breathtaking effect.
If Black Tiger is a bit campy and crazy in a halcyonic way, it's a cinematic tonic that has happily been exhumed from the dusty vaults.
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