Watch Headshot

"Bangkok's most dangerous cop is about to have his world turned upside down."
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 6.1  (1,840)
  • 60

Headshot, released in 2011, is a Thai neo-noir thriller directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, which presents a unique blend of crime drama, philosophical musings, and psychological tension. The film stars Nopachai Chaiyanam (also known as Nopachai Jayanama), Sirin Horwang, and Chanokporn Sayoungkul in pivotal roles. Renowned for its stylistic approach and complex narrative, Headshot combines traditional noir elements with a Southeast Asian flavor, resulting in a film that's both visually arresting and thematically dense.

The film follows the story of Tul, played by Nopachai Chaiyanam, a former police officer turned hitman who awakens from a coma to find his world literally turned upside down. After a job goes awry, he is shot in the head, an incident that leads to a bizarre condition—he now sees the world upside down. This physical change is emblematic of the film's exploration of duality and the blurred lines between good and evil, a common theme in noir cinema but here given a unique twist.

As Tul navigates this inverted reality, he becomes embroiled in a deep conspiracy involving a manipulative businessman, political intrigue, and corrupt cops. The film uses this plot to examine the corrupt institutions that surround and suppress the individual, questioning the true nature of justice and morality in a society where all have been corrupted in some way. Tul's journey is as much internal as it is external; as he dives deeper into the web of deceit, he is forced to confront his own past and the decisions that have led him to his current predicament.

Throughout the movie, Tul is helped by a young woman named Rin, played by Sirin Horwang. Her character provides a contrast to Tul's gritty world, offering moments of warmth and empathy amidst the otherwise cold and violent milieu. She becomes an anchor point for Tul, a glimmer of humanity in a world dominated by betrayal and violence.

Chanokporn Sayoungkul features in a role that further complicates the narrative, adding layers to the film’s rich tapestry of characters. Each character introduced adds depth and a new perspective, enhancing the narrative and driving the story forward.

The film is known for its visual flair, employing noir staples such as stark lighting and deep shadows which amplify the atmosphere of impending doom. Cinematography plays a crucial role in Headshot, using the camera perspective to quite literally turn the world on its head. The cinematography is not just a gimmick but an integral part of the storytelling, showing how Tul's disorientation reflects the moral disorientation of the universe he inhabits.

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's direction is deliberate and reflective. He crafts scenes with careful pacing, allowing audiences to ponder the existential questions posed by the film while remaining engaged in its suspenseful plot. The influence of eastern philosophy on his storytelling can be felt throughout, with Buddhist concepts of karma and detachment making their way into the narrative.

The sound design and score of the movie contribute significantly to the viewing experience, enhancing the feeling of unease and entrapment felt by the characters. The film refrains from a conventional score, instead using sound in measured ways to heighten tension or underscore a character's emotions. This restrained use of sound complements the often quiet, contemplative nature of the film.

Headshot involves multiple timelines and requires viewers to piece together the narrative, which is presented in a non-linear fashion. The storytelling technique challenges viewers to consider the cause-and-effect nature of actions and to contemplate the cyclic patterns people can become trapped in, especially within a corrupt society. The audience is led to question whether breaking free is a matter of choice or destiny.

The thematic heft of the movie is balanced by action sequences that are gritty and realistic. Unlike many crime thrillers that rely on over-the-top gunfights, Headshot's action is grounded and brutal, reflecting the harsh realities of Tul’s world. These scenes are impactful and drive home the perilous nature of the hitman's existence.

In the context of Thai cinema, Headshot stands out for its ambitious storytelling and technical prowess. While it may draw on generic conventions of crime and noir films, it injects new life into these tropes with its reverse-vision gimmick and its philosophical underpinnings. It offers an introspective examination of right versus wrong, order versus chaos, and predestined fate versus self-determination, all filtered through a Southeast Asian perspective that gives the film an identity of its own.

Nopachai Chaiyanam's performance as Tul is notable for its depth and nuance. His portrayal of a man haunted by his past and trying to navigate an upside-down present is both compelling and empathetic. The supporting cast also delivers commendable performances, creating memorable characters that enrich the fabric of Headshot's meticulously constructed world.

In conclusion, Headshot is a film that demands attention, not only for its intriguing plot but also for its visual innovation and thematic complexity. It's an experience that crosses genres, combining elements of action, drama, and crime with philosophical inquiry to create a distinctive and thought-provoking piece of cinema.

Headshot is a 2012 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 60.

Where to Watch Headshot
Headshot is available to watch free on Plex, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Headshot for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (1,840)
  • Metascore