Seeing as I love film almost as much as I love writing, I thought it might be fun to do reviews of movies that would appeal to erotic romance fans. Some of these films may be older, but hey, Netflix keeps movies eternal, eh?
Title: Bangkok Love Story
Genres: LGBT, Drama, Crime, Romance
Appeals to fans of: m/m romance, angst, hurt/comfort, nontraditional endings
Summary: Cloud is a lonely contract killer with a code of ethics. Stone is an innocent witness that the mob wants dead. When Cloud defies his bosses to protect Stone, he’s wounded in the get-away. Back at Cloud’s hideout, Stone nurses Cloud back to health, where their sexual tension finally comes to a head in a hot rooftop encounter. Though Stone seems willing to give up everything for his new lover, Cloud’s conflicted feelings — and complicated life — force Stone away. Will Stone be able to “reach” Cloud before he destroys the fragile happiness he’s so close to attaining?
Impressions: I was really excited when I heard about this film. Not only because I got to “revisit” some of the sights of Bangkok, but because I wanted to see what indie LGBT filmmaking was like in Thailand. And, yes, to see the pretty boys. I’m only human!
Well on the first and third counts, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a beautifully shot film, with the city framed almost as lovingly as the characters. Not only did some Bangkok landmarks get some nice cameos, but the rooftop world Cloud lives in is right at Skytrain-level. I probably passed by the rooftop they shot the film on several times a day!
As for the leading men, Rattanaballang Tohssawat (Cloud) and Chaiwat Thongsaeng (Stone) were indeed well-muscled specimens of fine male flesh, who spent about 75% of the movie in their skivvies. Their love scene practically steamed up my TV screen, with a slow burn of tension leading up to a delicious, knuckle-biting climax.
As for the story itself…I feel a bit mixed. The beginning was promising, with subdued, character-based drama punched up with adrenaline-pumping gun-play. After that, most of the action between Cloud and Stone involved lots of beautifully framed moments as the two men come to care for each other. My favorite was the adorable scene where each is trying not to get caught trying to watch the other sleep.
However, the second half of the film veers straight into the realm of serious melodrama. For example, there’s an ongoing subplot with Cloud’s impoverished mother and teenage brother, Fog, who are both dying of AIDS. Cloud tries to be a good big brother, but poor Fog has to fend for himself –and take care of their mother–in a tough neighborhood. It’s already heartbreaking enough to see what the kid has to go through just to survive, but some added nuggets of suck are tossed his way just to make sure we feel extra-bad for him.
I’m not going to spoil the ending. I will say, though, that if you need your romances to have a neat HEA ending, this ain’t gonna be your cuppa. But, if you’re willing to have your tea with a healthy dose of bittersweetness, you’re going to love this film.
Closing Impression: Watch for the pretty scenery (and “scenery”) with a plate of Pad Thai and box of tissues handy.