First up for review today is the recently released Thai Police Suspense/ Thriller, “Soul’s Code”….. Neko scored herself a bit of luck when this one was released in Thailand complete with the ever so important feature of English subtitling. With a promise of gritty forensic action ala “CSI” and the added goodness of creepy ghost story elements thrown in, how could I go wrong? Yep… and it gave me the perfect excuse to pick up some Thai pop CD’s I’d been eyeing too…. Yay!!
The quick Thai synopsis for it reads: “When a murdered body of a high school girl is found naked with a strange mark on her forehead, which is to prevent the vengeance of her spirit, Detective Khan from DSI (Department of Special Investigations) is assigned to investigate the case. The dead girl is brought to Dr. Nicha at CIFS in Bangkok to find more clues and identify the body. Meanwhile, C, a former teenager’s heartthrob is involved in this case when he begins to search for his lost ex-girlfriend. When the ghost is trying to connect to the living, Detective Khan starts to believe in something supernatural that leads him to the truth.”
Do vengeful ghosts and modern cops make for a good story mix? Well let’s all “Read On” and find out, shall we?
Since Neko knows you are gonna want to know, first up…let’s list the tech specifications for this one:
First up… there’s none of the crazy digital censoring on this release, unlike many recent Thai discs…. You know, the blurry blobs that sometime obscure any nudity or drug use, or threatening of people’s heads….. Thank goodness…. if it has been edited for content, I didn’t notice it.
Patiwat Ruengsri, Napat Bhunjongjit-pisan
– Thai (5.1)
– Thai (2.0)
– Music Video
– Behind the scene
This lil’ Catgirl’s early research on this one turned up the notion that “Soul’s Code” was considered a bit of a box office flop in Thailand itself, but Five Star Productions, the studio behind it has managed to sell distribution rights for it to quite a diverse number of regions, especially South America, so I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Especially given it’s english friendly Thai release. (And the posters are just sooooo creepy…Neko-chan is such a sucker for pretty pictures…)
Our story begins with a scene right out of a “CSI” episode… police surveillance of a swank, Bangkok party attended by crimlord “X”, is thrown into chaos when Lead Investigator Ganon (as played with suitable “CSI style” by M.L. Nattakorn “Pleum” Devakula) suddenly blows the stakeout over what he believes is a kidnapped girl being threatened at the scene…. He is the only officer who sees her, and the shootout and general screwup results in him being removed from the investigation of the crimelord and given what at first seems to be a dead-end case to occupy his time. A case about a murdered girl found naked, her hands and feet bound with cloth torn from a Monk’s robe and stuffed in a cardboard box dumped waaaay out in the boondocks.
At the same time, another also seemingly unrelated story is begun…. That of Cee, aspiring rock star and the problems he’s having, balancing his supermodel girlfriend, Prae, while trying to find out why his ex-girlfriend, Ning, has suddenly gone missing off the face of the earth. Her inexplicable disappearance is brought to his attention by her transvestite pimp who thinks she is on the run after stealing something from her last john….. our crimelord “X”…. Ning’s spirit hovers near him constantly telling him that something is amiss….. something he’s forgotten…..
By now you know these two are on an inevitable collision course and will tease each other as they spiral around the truth behind the case helped by the haunting spirit of the murdered girl aching to find peace.
The plot for this one is complicated. Much of it is very much a modern sort of “film noir” as dark secrets from Cee’s recent past slowly return to confuse and cloud the issues, but Neko found it easy to follow, and the supernatural elements, while perhaps unusual for this genre, work well to drive the story forward. The science here is presented well, but isn’t central to the plot… you wont see all the techno jargon filled expositions on the evidence that you might expect. In fact, the forensics expert Nicha, spend her time trying to open Ganon’s eyes to the very asian notion that the supernatural isn’t always mutually exclusive from the methodical investigatory approach taken by Inspector Ganon. They have a history…. it’s that kind of story, so when she talks, he listens.
Ultimately it’s hard to describe the end of this film without spoiling it, so let’s focus instead on the storytelling itself…. The plot here sounds like it shouldn’t work. Surprisingly though, it’s very well written, and meshes much better than one might first think. Mind you, some compromises had to be made…. “Soul’s Code” ends up being a passable Police Procedural, a nod to forensics, and only an acceptable ghost story. Our vengeful spirit relies more on gentle nudging and some flickering lights, and maybe a few strange sounds to get the job done. If you were hoping for a little sequence of bullet vs ghost you’ll have to look elsewhere. But the ending is worth it…..just not in a way you’d probably expect.
So…in conclusion, Neko gives “Soul’s Code” a decent 3 “Meows” out of 5 for being willing to try something different, for being a competently made and well acted film that didn’t make me fall asleep halfway through. Get it right from Thailand, where the price is certainly right, and show them we really like their movies enough that maybe they’ll subtitle more often…..
There’s a Trailer…and here it goes!!