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Legend of Suriyothai (2002)

Cast: Marisa Anita, Marisa Anita, M.L. Piyapas Bhirombhhakdi, more...
Director: Chatrichalerm Yukol, Chatrichalerm Yukol
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Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Genre: Foreign, Southeast Asia
Running Time: 142 min.
Languages: Thai
Subtitles: English, French
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Recently Rented By Ptaines

A fabled moment in the history of Thailand sets the stage for this lavishly mounted historical epic. In 1528, Thailand's leadership is in chaos, as the Northern and Southern factions of the nation declare their own kings; in the midst of this confusion, young Suriyothai (M.L. Piyapas Bhirombhhakdi) is forced to marry Prince Tien (Sarunyoo Wongkrachang) and leave behind her true love, Piren (Chatchai Plengpanich). In time, Prince Tien becomes the nation's sole ruler, but King Tabinshweti (Suphakit Tangthatswasd), the ruler of nearby Burma, declares his designs upon Thailand; and as the two countries go to war in 1548, Tien is lost in battle. As Thailand's independence hangs in the balance, Suriyothai stands as her nation's new champion; she rallies the Thai forces, and, traveling by elephant, leads a brave and determined campaign against the invading Burmese troops. Suriyothai originally opened in Thailand in the summer of 2001, screening in a sprawling 185-minute version, and became one of the country's biggest box-office hits. Two years later, director Chatrichalerm Yukol, a member of Thai royalty, reshaped the film for international release with the help of his friend Francis Ford Coppola; the film was shortened to 142 minutes and retitled The Legend of Suriyothai. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Catalog description and image courtesy of Used with permission. 2003

GreenCine Member Reviews

Spend some time in old Thailand by squad June 9, 2004 - 3:25 PM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
In the tradition of epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, this film requires a resetting of your inner clock to slowly wander down the path of a cultural history. The lovely grace of the Thai people mixed with the perplexing proclivity for violence is entrancing. It is a mindset alien to our democracy and tradition-free culture. Remarkable are the scenes when the screen is for a moment filled with the bare backs of royal subjects bowed before their regents. Is it a field of dampened stones? No, these are human backs. This is a film that gains momentum through to the end, which is always critical. In all a refreshing outing to another time and location.

The King of Siam--and no Anna! by talltale May 23, 2004 - 5:36 AM PDT
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI is so gorgeous to watch, moment by moment, that it wouldn't even have to sport much story or characters to drag me along. The wonder is, it has everything: history, beauty, pomp, royalty, love, honor, betrayal, beheadings, and warfare with elephants. Hooked yet? You will be. The original movie was evidently somewhere in the ballpark of 6 hours (which might have made a good mini-series for TV). Francis Ford Coppola then took a shortened theatrical version and trimmed it further to 2-1/2 hours. He did an excellent job of making all the convoluted history and intrigue understandable. You may notice some of the elisions, but they won't ruin your enjoyment or ability to follow the story. This is fascinating history, most of which we Westerners know little of. The actors do a good job of communicating life lived in a much different era, and the screenplay, too, has the right tone of a history book come to magical life. A word ought to be said here for the distribution arm of Sony Classics. To my mind, this terrific little company ought to receive a special Academy Award for consistently bringing viewers some of the best foreign films available. (Over the years its releases have won a number of "Best Foreign Film" awards.) Miramax may get most of the press and hurrahs, but this company takes chance after chance on little-known foreign fare and rarely offers up a clinker. When I see that blue-and-white Sony Classics logo, I know that what follows will almost always be worth my time.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.28)
36 Votes
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