Nong Toom grows up in poverty in Thailand. From an early age
he knows that he is a woman trapped in a mans body, a problem
that causes him both internal and external conflict. He finds
his salvation in the very male world of kickboxing. Although,
accused of joining the sport to pay for a sex change operation,
it is Toom's love of his family and the desire to earn money
to help them that motivates him. As he grows to manhood he
sheds the pretence about his real nature, fighting in makeup
he becomes the famous beautiful boxer...
Boxer, directed by Ekachai Uekrongthan, is one hell of
a good film. It's funny, poignant and very violent. I've said
it before and I'll say it again: thank god for Tartan Video,
who have a knack of finding some of the finest films in the
world, which you otherwise would never see outside of a film
festival. Beautiful Boxer is a film from Thailand with
a director who has won many awards for his theatrical work.
If you are somewhat squeamish about foreign films because
of the subtitles then Boxer might just be a nice compromise
for you as a lot of the film is in English.
acting is genuinely superb and I would find it difficult to
criticise any of the cast, especially Asanee Suwan who imbues
Toom with such an internal joy for life that his portrayal
is infectious in the extreme. Toom is a gentle spirit on a
journey to discover beauty. It's a complicated journey. Not
only does Toom come to terms with the masculine beauty of
kickboxing, but he fights for his right to create a beauty
of himself. This is not an easy path to take. As he gradually
transforms himself, he runs into problems with internal demons
and external prejudice. Ultimately, the film is about the
triumph of the spirit, Toom holds on to a level of honesty
about his true self, which few of us could match.
options are a generous Stereo, 5.1 and DTS. The DTS really
is at its best during the fight scenes where the visceral
pounding of the drums really drags you into the action. There
are subtitles available, however, as I said previously, a
lot of the film is in English, which allows the audience to
really participate in the action and not spend their whole
the extras side there is the original trailer, which really
gives a taste of how of the visual beauty and heart pounding
action of the film. The extras also contain three interviews.
The first with director Ekachai Uekrongthan, in English, looks
at the genesis of the film and his desire to tell the story,
the second with Paringa Charoenphol, the real Toom discussing
her reaction to the film. As this was a true story it was
delightful to see the real person, she comes over just as
sensitive and delightful as her film portrayal would suggest.
Lastly, there is an interview with Asanee Suwan, who plays
Toom in the film. I was surprised to discover that he had
never really acted before as he was excellent in the role.
Like Toom, he came from a poor family and became a boxer as
a way of supporting his family. Lastly there is a 'Making
of' documentary, in English, which looks at the background
to the film. This is no 'weren't we all lovely' type of documentary,
rather it's an in depth look at the reasons behind the films
creation. One of the things I really liked was being able
to watch the real Nong Toom fight, it helped root the film
is spot on with the visuals being presented in an anamorphic
1.78:1 ration, great for anyone who possesses a nice big TV,
especially when showing the fight scenes.
great film about the human spirit's ability to overcome even
the worst circumstances and still create a thing of beauty.
Buy it, you'll love it.