The Overture

Rated NR 2005

This Thai quest tale tells a familiar story in a bland way. Inspired by the life of traditional Thai musician Luang Pradit Pairoh, Overture centers around Sorn (Anuchit Saphanphong), a wildly talented ranad (i.e., xylophone) prodigy who makes his way from a tiny rural village to the royal palace by virtue of his remarkable skill and stylistic innovations. As a youth, Sorn must contend with the death of his older brother, also a ranad player, killed by rival musicians. (Apparently, in the late 19th century, music competitions were a very big deal in Thailand.) As he matures and leaves home, Sorn must learn how to hold his own in the palace, including against a formidable opponent. Sorn does all of the usual quest-movie things -- He rebels, returns home, rediscovers himself in his roots, etc. Meanwhile, the movie runs a parallel narrative of Sorn as an old man, defending traditional music against a military regime in Thailand. The film clearly has bold intentions, but sadly, it's pretty dull.

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