Heart Attack gets clean bill of health

REVIEW / DRAMA

HEART ATTACK

132 minutes

3 1/2 stars

The story: Freelance graphic designer Yoon (Sunny Suwanmethanon) goes to a doctor for a rash that spreads all over his body. The doctor (Davika Hoorne) warns him that he needs to take on fewer jobs to get better, but that proves to be difficult for the workaholic Yoon.

Audiences will be disappointed if they think this movie is going to be another giddy romcom typical of those produced by popular Thai film studio GTH, such as SuckSeed (2011) and Hello Stranger (2010).

Heart Attack is quieter and more meditative than you might expect as a result of its misleading marketing campaign comprising cutesy posters and an upbeat film trailer.

Surprisingly, it also contains little romance. Despite the presence of an attractive female star in the second lead role, the story focuses on protagonist Yoon's journey of self-discovery.

In the role of a brilliant but socially awkward graphic designer here, actor Sunny Suwanmethanon betrays no trace of the heart-throb who had so effortlessly charmed viewers with his goofy mechanic role in last year's mega-hit I Fine... Thank You... Love You.

Yoon, looking perpetually grumpy and grimy, has only one goal in life - to work as much as he can so he can become the best in the business. He even lugs his laptop with him to the funeral of a friend's father, hiding in a corner in search of a Wi-Fi signal.

All other activities, whether it is watching TV or even sleeping, are a complete waste of time to him.

When his health suffers and he is forced on the road to recovery, he finally takes stock of the quality of his life.

This is where the actor truly shines, as he convincingly displays all the loneliness and insecurities of a man who is at a loss when his life is no longer filled with mind-numbing jobs.

The scene where he imagines his own funeral is especially poignant as he realises that it would be a badly attended one.

The film goes on for too long and veers towards melodrama, but it is saved by Suwanmethanon's likeability and heartfelt performance.

His interactions with his deadpan work partner Je (Violette Wautier) and the mini crush he has on his doctor feel authentic.

With this compelling film filled with sharp observations about life, box-office king GTH has taken a risk to produce a different kind of film from its usual slate of manic slapstick gags - and it pays off.

yipwy@sph.com.sg
Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

Check out other movies opening on October 15 here.


This article was first published on October 14, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.