Review by Gorrman Lee.
Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Ploy follows a Thai married couple, Dang and Wit, as they return to Bangkok for a funeral after living in America for seven years. When they check into a luxury hotel early in the morning, Wit meets a sexy young teenaged girl in the hotel bar, named Ploy. Upon hearing that Ploy is waiting alone for her mother, Wit invites her to his room to rest and wash up. What follows is the story of rising tension between Wit, his wife Dang, and the young Ploy, while a hotel bartender and a maid meet for a sexual encounter down the hallway.
Ploy is utterly disorienting, and yet strangely compelling. As soon as the film begins, the viewer is thrown into the middle of a scene with absolutely no bearings. Wit and Dang are on an airplane, but where are they going? Who are they? They don’t speak to each other, but their distant body language and the voyeuristic camera work urge us to stay and find out.
Ploy’s style is all about throwing the viewer questions, one after another. The dialogue is sparse and gives very little exposition, but is well-written and satisfying. Things happen very slowly, and tension builds, and, often, we’re not told why. When the few fast-paced moments do occur they are completely jarring and unexpected, leaving the viewer to think, “What just happened?” The style and narrative of the film also abruptly shift several times with no explanation. And just who are the bartender and maid, and why should we care?
Ultimately, Ploy is for the viewer who likes to engage and work. Anyone who is expecting a solid three-act storyline will be disappointed with the film’s slowness.
Pen-ek Ratanaruang | Thailand | 2007 | 107min
Sat. Sept. 29 | 6:40pm | Empire Granville Theatre
Sun. Sept. 30 | 3:30pm | Empire Granville Theatre