SUNDANCE Movie Review: One for the Road
by Julie Perez
Originally from Thailand, Boss (Thanapob Leeratanakajorn) finds himself living an exciting life in New York when his estranged friend Aood (Natara Nopparatayapon) gives him a call to tell him some difficult news. Aood is sick, so he has made a list of things he wants to accomplish before he dies. Boss makes his way back to Thailand and helps his friend embark on a road trip to say goodbye to his past girlfriends.
The road trip inevitably allows Aood and Boss to reconnect. Though, in the initial moments of their road trip, it’s the interactions with every ex-girlfriend that make an impact. Every exchange between Aood and an ex-girlfriend feels like its very own short film. Each visit carries its own aesthetic, passionate conversation, and ultimately, a necessary ending; it feels satisfying to witness Aood get some much-needed closure.
Though the driving force in the film is the friendship between Aood and Boss, from the beginning, this film makes it clear that regardless of how they say goodbye, it will break you when it happens. So when Aood makes his last revelation to Boss it immediately feels earth-shattering. The reliving of painful memories and Aood’s secret that comes to light threatens their relationship. Baz allows life for these two friends to unravel in a complicated and messy way. After all, there are no happy endings without some pain in the middle of it all.
One for the Road is a visually-stunning story that will shatter your heart. Baz Poonpiriya uses unique camera work and exquisite editing to elevate the storytelling in ways that feel refreshing. The only thing working against One for the Road is that it almost feels like you’re watching two different films. The shift in storyline halfway through almost causes whiplash but the passionate storyline thankfully isn’t too affected by the shift.
It’s clear that the film sets out to destroy you emotionally and it’s quite a relief when it ultimately does. Though some may find the ending a bit cliche, the film’s long-running time forces you to become invested. Thankfully, the pay-off feels worth it by the end. With this personal film, Baz has elevated his work in ways that make me excited to see what he works on next. Here’s hoping One for the Road finds a home after the festival so that it can reach wider audiences.