Monday, 6 September 2010


Playing like a short version of Lost In Translation minus the laboured stereotypes, Phuket follows Korean pop star Jin as she visits Phuket in Thailand, home to the most adoring chapter of her fanbase. Jin spends most of her time stepping in and out of her chauffeur-driven car, desperate to escape the pressures of fame. Tired of her obsequious translator and assistant, she grows closer to chauffeur Pong, asking him to drive her to quiet, isolated spots. The two converse in broken English, Pong helping Jin relive memories she had on a childhood visit to the island.

The film was commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Phuket in the hopes of drumming up tourism for Phuket, and director Aditya Assarat manages to eke out a narrative while maintaining focus on the island’s beautiful scenery. Cleverly using the theme of memories to keep his protagonist travelling around, Assarat colours the film with gentle humour and optimism. Lim Su-jeong, famed for roles in A Tale of Two Sisters and I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK, has honed a decent American accent and pulls off the sense of the out-of-her-depth pop diva without even singing a note. Veteran action star Sorapong Chatree is charming as the fatherly chauffeur, the antithesis of Jin’s jaded superstar. At thirty minutes, it’s perhaps a little too short to make an impact, and longer than predicted for what is essentially a cinematic postcard. Nonetheless, there is sweetness in every frame, coaxed along by a wistful indie soundtrack.

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