I haven't seen Friendship, the romantic drama starring Mario Maurer from The Love of Siam and Apinya Sakuljaroensuk from Ploy. Though I liked Hormones, I simply haven't been in the mood to watch another romance film. So I've been putting off seeing Friendship.
The first production effort from Right Beyond, which has been around for years as a distribution company, Friendship hasn't fared very well since it opened on July 2, the same day as Hancock. It doesn't even show up in the totals at Box Office Mojo. The reason for that, I've learned (thank you Thomat), is that studios and distributors are responsible for submitting their numbers to Box Office Mojo, and Right Beyond apparently wasn't clued in or simply elected not to provide their totals. Oh, why isn't there an unbiased central authority in Thailand for reporting of things like box-office figures, DVD rentals and music sales?
In Friendship, singer-actor Jay Jetrin Wattanasin portrays a guy who is obsessed with finding the whereabouts of his high-school crush. The action then flashes back to his schoolboy days, during which he's played by Mario. Saipan Apinya is his love object.
The posters and trailer make the film look gauzy and light, like a romantic comedy. The storyline, and casting of Chalermpon "Jack" Thikumpornteerawon, recalls Fan Chan. But this is not Fan Chan and it's not a comedy. In fact, it is a drama and is quite grim. Bangkok of the Mind has a spoiler-filled, blow-by-blow, graphic account of it. Read it if you dare.
Here's a bit of what Bkkdreamer has to say about it (spoiler free):
Friendship, which is Mario's second movie, appears to have bombed. The company which made it, Right Beyond Films, will say it clashed with big Hollywood titles such as Hancock, so did not have a chance to shine. The truth may be more prosaic: audiences just didn't like it.
The film met with lukewarm reviews. More importantly, it created almost no Internet buzz. I can find half a dozen posts at the popular Pantip board, written by Thais who have seen it. Compare that with the hundreds written in praise of Mario's first film, the gay coming-of-age drama, Love of Siam.
This is another case of a film not finding its audience because of misleading posters and marketing. And anyone who went to see the film expecting a comedy came away sorely disappointed. The same thing happened when the gay angle of Love of Siam was concealed, though fans quickly rallied around Love, once word of mouth spread about its fabulousness. A better example might be 2004's Ai-Fak, which was marketed as a sexy romantic comedy but was actually a tragic downer.
Knowing the full brutal nature of Friendship, I am actually kind of curious to see it. I'd better hurry, though. It's fast disappearing from Bangkok cinemas.