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With: Chartchai Ngamsan, Stella Malucchi, Supakorn Kitsuwon, Arawat Ruangvuth, Sombati Medhanee, Pairoj Jaisingha, Naiyana Sheewanun, Kanchit Kwanpracha
Written by: Wisit Sasanatieng
Directed by: Wisit Sasanatieng
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Thai with English subtitles
Running Time: 110
Date: 10/05/2000

Tears of the Black Tiger (2000)

3 Stars (out of 4)

About a Cowboy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Tears of the Black Tiger on DVD (PAL, Region 2)

Sometime in 2001, Miramax snapped up the distribution rights to this Thai film, changed the ending, and then promptly sat on it without releasing it. Now Magnolia Pictures somehow rescued it, restored its original ending and finally gave it a U.S. theatrical release. Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng (Citizen Dog), the film pays tribute to both the American Western and a bit of the Douglas Sirk-type melodrama. As the movie begins, a gunslinger dubbed the Black Tiger (Chartchai Ngamsan) and his partner Mahasuan (Supakorn Kitsuwon) clean up a nest of bandits with some incredibly tricky shooting. Meanwhile, Black Tiger has missed a rendezvous with his sweetheart, Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi), sending her straight into an arranged marriage with a soldier. Flashbacks reveal that Black Tiger, also known as Dum, and Rumpoey have been in love since childhood, but their social status keeps them apart. What follows is a complex web of rescue attempts, betrayals and showdowns. Filmed in candy counter colors and bright pastels, the movie starts out like a sugar rush, but it eventually gets stuck in too much syrup; the Western elements completely buckle under the melodrama. And since this is essentially a parody, our emotional connection to the characters doesn't carry through to the "serious" section. But for at least half its length, it's quite unlike anything else you've seen.

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