Sunday, August 21, 2011

SuckSeed: Huay Khan Thep (SuckSeed ห่วยขั้นเทพ)

Success Suckers

The Thai production house GTH was probably synonymous with the horror genre, until last year's romantic drama and surprise hit Hello Stranger made one sit up and take notice that they too are capable of churning out hits outside of their established genre. SuckSeed just proved once again that they are as comfortable as the Japanese in taking the zero to hero formula and coming up with an awesome coming of age tale of a group of students trying to make it to the finals of their high school rock band contest, and comes complete with the requisite love story, comedic antics and plenty of rock music to make up the soundtrack.

Directed by first time helmer Chayanop Boonprakob, SuckSeed tells the story of good friends Ped (Jirayu Laongmanee) and Koong (Pachara Chirathivat), opposites in character with the former being the shy boy nursing an infatuation toward fellow classmate Ern (Nattasha Nauljam), and the latter being the daring buddy with the slightest of attention spans, having to dabble in plenty of hobbies but never settling for any, until his envy of his twin brother Kay's success with his band Arena made him want to start his own, besides the notion of assuming that being in a band will mean being an automatic chick magnet. Roping in basketballer turned drummer Ex (Thawat Pornrattanaprasert), the trio obviously don't have the talent necessary to entertain nor perform, but that doesn't mean that they're giving up in true blue zero to eventual hero formula, willing to even parody themselves by calling their band SuckSeed, where first you have to suck, before success will come. After all, once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up, no?

And this is the surprise package that delivered where it mattered, be it the musical numbers, thanks to real life Thai bands and/or their frontman making cameo appearances (one of my favourite Thai songs came on as the first, how cool is that?), the more dramatic moments or the comedy where the actors, mostly first timers as well, will put some veterans to shame with their exuberance. While the story was written by a host of writers, it didn't fall prey to the too many cooks spoiling the broth syndrome, where the end product would turn out to be rather scattered and piece meal. Rather, SuckSeed proved to the contrary, with the ensemble cast playing (pardon the pun) their hearts out in their roles.

One may think of it as being quite generic at times, with subplots like unrequited love, teenage romance, sibling rivalry and the likes that pepper movies featuring teenage characters, but the delivery of its charismatic leads here more than make up for it, especially between Jirayu Laongmanee and Pachara Chirathivat as best buddies, and that between the former and Nattasha Nauljam in their romantic angle. Chayanop Boonprakob also utilizes different techniques to keep things varied and interesting, where animation also came into play more than once to spice things up in style especially in its manga inspired moments when dealing with introducing of band members, or even the rebirth of SuckSeed in phoenix style where it rose out of its ashes after two members got burnt by their failure to snag the girls they fancy, and decide to pour their energies into making their band a success. Or not.

Like Japan's Beck this year which also had the formation of a band as its premise and the focus on the relationships between band members, SuckSeed is the Thai equivalent, and powers its way into one of my favourites this year. It's a complete film as much as emotions go in its roller coaster ride, where friendship, romance, comedy and rock all fuse together in synergy to bring forth a crowd pleaser. Highly recommended and an inspiration to those who suck - I Need You! Want You! Love You!

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