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Issue #190a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES December 15th, 2003

One Take Only
(2001/03; Film Bangkok/Pang Brothers Production/BEC-Tero Entertainment Co.)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Alternate English Title on DVD Packaging: Som + Bank: Bangkok for Sale

This is Oxide Pang Chun's solo follow-up to BANGKOK DANGEROUS (reviewed in issues #130 and #140), which he co-directed with his brother, Danny Pang Fat. Produced in much the same aggressive style as that picture and with similar urban settings, ONE TAKE ONLY centers around schoolgirl prostitute Som (Wanatchada Siwapornchai; image) and low-level pusher Bank (Pawarit Mongkolpisit, who played the deaf killer in DANGEROUS), who strike up a relationship after she rescues him from a beating. The pair discover that they live in the same housing project and begin to spend more and more time together. Bank is offered a deal involving a large quantity of drugs that will net him a substantial payoff. He agrees and the exchange goes off without a hitch. The money Bank earns allows the couple to splurge on some of the luxuries Som has dreamed about, including a high end mobile phone. Their situation takes a turn for the worse, however, which leads Bank to try and purchase a gun.

Lacking the narrative drive of the earlier picture, ONE TAKE ONLY is a casual observation of contemporary Thai street youth. The production's frank, non-judgmental approach led to problems with local censors (who, among other things, objected to the amount of smoking!), delaying its release until after 2002's THE EYE (co-directed by Oxide and Danny) had opened. Pang (who also wrote and edited) does not offer any answers here does dwell briefly on the causes, with parental neglect and poverty being the main culprits. There are numerous visually striking moments but the abundant stylization is sometimes at odds with the goal here. Much of the picture was improvised and there are moments where one is tempted to believe that a particular filter or transition effect was incorporated solely to jazz up a rather aimless character study with an inevitable trajectory. There remains much of value (including a very clever bit demonstrating the degree to which some people have become completely inseparable from their cell phones) and one scene in the final act injects real poignancy into the increasingly predictable scenario.

Cover art courtesy AG.

Pawalit Mongkolpisit (left) and Wanatchada Siwapornchai. Image courtesy AG.
AG Entertainment #AG-DVD 0004 (Thai label)

Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0

Sync Sound Thai Language

Optional English Subtitles

10 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips

Letterboxed (mostly 2.15:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

PAL Format

88 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains moderate violence, coarse language, brief nudity, mild sexuality, and drug use

DVD menu courtesy AG.

Great Britain: 15
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

The front and spine of both the keep case and slipcover packaging carry the title SOM + BANK: BANGKOK FOR SALE but on the back, the menu, and the film itself is the official English export handle ONE TAKE ONLY. There is a great deal of image and color manipulation here, as well as some handheld verite-style sequences and heavy grain during much of the last reel, so it is difficult to fully gauge the accuracy of the transfer. The lack of 16:9 is regrettable but the colors are strong, details are good, and the picture pleasing in most instances. It is not clear whether the movie was shot in 1.85:1 or Super 35; a few shots seem somewhat overmatted but the 2.15 framing looks symmetrical in all but a few set-ups and nothing of significance appears to be missing from the sides. The frame mysteriously expands to 1.80 for the final four minutes of the movie. Not having seen the film theatrically, I cannot say if this was intentional on Oxide Pang's part or due to the actions of the telecine operator (the UK DVD from Metro Tartan is reportedly 1.85 throughout). Mild artifacting can be detected during some heavily tinted sequences. The audio is strong and well-mixed, with Orange Music's techno score coming across nicely. No extras.

ONE TAKE ONLY is available at Poker Industries.

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