Review: The Legend of Suriyothai (2001)

Well after seeing this film there is only one thing I can possibly say, and that is SHOW ME THE MONEY! I’ve yet to see a film come from Thailand or South East Asia that is so lush, and it’s none of this CGI stuff, this is sheer set and costume extravagance. The film reportedly cost anywhere between 8 – 20 million dollars US. But I guess when you have the Thai royal family backing the film, anything is possible.

The Legend of Suriyothai begs to be seen for two reasons. Firstly, the look of the film is stunning, it seems as if each detail in the costumes and each piece of furniture needs a once over in gold. Moreover, the locations that were used in the film are as beautiful as they come. I have even heard that the locations used in the film were the locations where the real battles against Burma took place.

Secondly, this film needs to be seen for its battles. They are of grand proportions and are as blood letting as I have seen in a long while — the warriors in The Legend of Suriyothai make Uma Thurman in Kill Bill look like a kitten. I would imagine that Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol would have had a headache coordinating such battle sequences. There is even a scene where several elephants are lined up with cannons mounted on their backs. However grandiose the film may be, it is still not void of troubles. The film tries to tell too much. The narrative is heavily burdened with many attempts to overthrow the thrown, civil strife, battles with Burma, and the hardships that Queen Suriyothai must endure. With so much going on in the narrative, the film often becomes un-involving because one needs a rather large amount of information about Thai history to keep track.

Overall, The Legend of Suriyothai is worth the time and attention needed to watch it, and for all the attention needed at times, there are the massive payoffs — the stunning look of the film and the wild battles. This is one of the many great films emerging from Thailand at the moment and I urge you not to miss it.

7 gold suits of armor out of 10.
Bookmark the permalink.