Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Last Executioner is aiming at you

Blood and bullets rule in the latest trailer for The Last Executioner (เพชฌฆาต, Petchakat), the biographical drama of Chavoret Jaruboon, Thailand's last machine-gun prison executioner.

Directed by Tom Waller, it stars Vithaya Pansringarm (Only God Forgives) as Chavoret. The film tracks his life, from his younger days as an unruly rock 'n' roller, performing for American soldiers during the Vietnam War, to finding love, and then taking a job in a prison as a way to support his family.

Penpak Sirikul (It Gets Better) portrays his wife, and David Asavanond (Countdown) is a shadowy spirit figure who haunts Chavoret. Thira Chutikul (Rang: The Parallel) plays the younger Chavoret.

The film depicts Chavoret's inner struggle, whether his killing in the name of justice is good or bad.

Film Journal has more:

Chavoret was deeply emotionally torn over his position, because it clashed with his Buddhist beliefs. “He always wanted to be a musician and in fact played clubs with his guitar. But this didn’t earn him enough money to raise his three children, so when the previous executioner suddenly retired, he very reluctantly accepted to replace him. After all, he would be paid 2,000 baht per execution, which was a considerable amount of money at the time,” Waller elaborated.

It is this inner conflict—leading a double life as a devoted family man on one side and carrying out state killings on the other—which the film depicts in stark, often harrowing visuals. “He can coolly pull the trigger on the same day he plays with his granddaughter, whom he absolutely adores. Yet it becomes clear to the audience that deep inside Chavoret is a troubled man, whose music often is his saving grace and who tries through his Buddhist faith to reconcile his torn conscience by making merit whenever he can,” explained Waller.

Although the scenes in the execution chamber—which was painstakingly recreated in a studio with the help of photographs taken on location at Bang Kwan Central Prison, the infamous “Bangkok Hilton” — are generally unsettling, the film’s defining moment is perhaps the scene where a female convict inexplicably survives the initial burst from the machine gun. “When she later comes to in a neighboring room, she has to be dragged back to be executed a second time, crying, screaming and kicking all the way. This surreal incident really happened and haunted Chavoret for the rest of his life,” said Waller."

The Thai release, being handled by the new outfit Handmade Distribution, is now set for July 3.

The new trailer is embedded below.

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