It was a matter of luck that I came across this gem, an Asian movie, which I’m starting to be enthusiastic about, which features a troubled youth bounded by a peculiar culture but in a more relatable socio- economic set- up.
The movie depicted the purity in a child who just only have school, food, and games in his equilibrium, when a simple cheeseburger is such a bliss already.
But out of his impeccability, the film bravely showed the harshness of adulthood, poverty, and patriotism in a country institutionally- corrupted like Thailand before the virgin perspective of the poor kid.
Oat’s life is a tragedy. He got no parents, that itself is tragic. All he was left with was his conservative aunt and his brother, who became influential and instrumental in his growth as a scrappy child. The checkerboard, which played a great role in their fraternal bond, became analogous of how an individual could win in life.
On the other hand, Thailand was portrayed as a culturally- conservative society in an age of terrorism and low- key gangs. Their abode was situated in a poverty- stricken outskirt which reflects their humble living and which signifies how a typical family in Asian countries ruled by social inequality looks like.
The narrative revolves on the destiny for every 21- year- old Thai men who has to join the annual lottery almost akin to Hunger Games. The draft day is a misfortune for his brother because if he will get a red card, he is obliged to join the armed forces and lose Oat out of sight for 2 years. His throe as an 11- year- old kid who has to scrabble to pull him out of the draft deepens that struggle.
The film still indicted at the end that the destiny among those who receive the red card is one of the highest privileges to serve the country and the sacrifice being bestowed by the brave is more than undeniable.
The film became harsh, yet real in showing the business of adulthood in front of the kid’s virgin eyes such as; the black market, terrorism, bribery, cruelty, bullying, drug addiction, prostitution, poverty, etc.
Of all the virtues being shown, the fraternal love between the kid and his older brother is the most heartwarming. He may not be a good example for Oat, but the love he poured to this innocent kid is beyond fulfilling.
The day of the lottery is somewhat predictable already but that intensifies the thrill of the peripeteia. It’s breathtaking for no reason.
My favorite scene was when the kid drove for his older brother, which for me is symbolic in its own right.
Homosexuality was tackled in the movie like a norm being accepted within their social fabric, which it is in their country. Thailand had decriminalized homosexuality for more than a decade now. The cruel reality that his brother, who has to work as an escort out of poverty, struggles to keep an honest relationship to a guy from the upper class who has all the privileges, even the privilege to escape his own fate. Their lovestory as two men from two entirely different worlds became one of the most important highlights of the movie.
The narrative is focused as it was being told by a man who was about to face his turn in the annual lottery. The man told his tragic childhood the way he sees it when he was a child. The coherence of every elements in this film amazes me the most.
Apart from being an involving and emotionally- engaging drama, this picture depicted the social reality of the emotional unrest being brought by a piece of paper which has to dictate their fate.