February is a film that one wouldn’t expect to come from Thai director Yuthlert Sippapak. In fact, I’m surprised this film even came from Thailand, as it’s rather unique in terms of typical Thai romantic-dramas. However in this case unique doesn’t particularly connote good.
February is a beautiful looking film, and aside from that, it’s not much more. You don’t tend to catch yourself thinking that the stylistic elements are bad, but you at times you have to stop yourself from gagging because of the dreadful characters. The “farangs” (foreigners) in the film are shamelessly clichéd and worse yet they are beyond bad in terms of delivering a line. The character Scott is particularly startling; his goofy voice-overs just kill the professionalism of the film. I am still trying my hardest to rid that voice from my dreams.
Thankfully, things pick up after the first 30 minutes and the film starts to find some good form. What improve considerably are the stylistic elements of the film. With the huge budget that the film has, it’s good to see them use it. The cinematography at times is utterly jaw dropping; the shots of New York’s Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge are the best I’ve seen them on film. There is one CGI – black and white sequence that is absolutely stunning — all the film’s elements come together in this one highlight.
Yuthlert Sippapak is somewhat of an unknown quantity when it comes to filmmaking and he is certainly unpredictable when it comes to genre consistency. His first film, Killer Tattoo is an action flick, the second February is a romantic drama and his third, Buppha Ratree is a comedy-horror. With such diversity in genre, I would think that he is just trying to cater to a mass audience. Knowing that he has a contract for a couple more films for GMM Pictures, I am interested to see how he will surprise us next.
Despite my cynical attitude, February isn’t a bad film, in fact, it’s at times very good, especially for its lush cinematography and haunting soundtrack. The film shows another aspect to Thailand’s growing diversity in filmmaking, and perhaps more importantly, it reflects the state of Thailand’s film industry today; it’s not always excellent quality, but it shows that filmmakers are getting their films made, and that there are funding opportunities to be grabbed.