Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 29, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tropical Malady

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
120 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/29/05
performer
Sakda Kaewbuadee, Banlop Lomnoi
director
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
distributor
Strand Releasing
author
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it a B

At first, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s murky art movie Tropical Malady is about a romance between a young Thai soldier and a country boy. Then the boy disappears — perhaps he has been transformed into a magical beast — and things change for the even more mythic as the soldier pushes into the heart of the jungle in pursuit. There is no loss of art-movie face to be had, I assure you, in admitting difficulty with the filmmaker’s intentional tangle of genres as he stakes his story between waking life and legend: It took me two viewings to enjoy the landscape of Weerasethakul’s mysterious jungle — so very thick, steamy, and foreign — without wishing for clearer trail markers.

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