Mini-Review: Chocolate (2008) – The Story of a Kick-Ass Autistic Chick With a Passion for Smarties, M&M’s and Martial Arts

Yanin_Vismitananda_Chocolate_2008
Meds are expensive in Thailand. There’s no free health care in Thailand. People don’t like to pay debts in Thailand. So what do you do when your mother has cancer and can’t afford to pay for hospital bills? If you’re Zen (Yanin “Jeeja” Vismistananda) a young autistic girl with some sick martial arts skills you look up all the people who owe your mother money and go kick their asses with your chubby best friend Moom (Taphon Phopwandee). What about the mafia? That’s still the easy part, the real problem are the flies. Zen hates flies. Not to worry because Moom has an electric mosquito killer and he’s not afraid to use it! 

Chocolate (original title: ช็อคโกแลต, which is also “Chocolate”) is a dramatic, but fun martial arts film from Ong-bak director Prachya Pinkaew. It’s a very stylish film, with some sexy slow-motion scenes, a joyful and colorful cinematography (Decha Srimantra) and an inspired and very varied soundtrack (from typical Thai music to sensuous and sweet shoegaze). It’s an especially impressive film because as shown after the credits the stunts were performed by the actors themselves. Yes, they’re all professional martial arts artists (Jeeja included), but they still got hurt doing some of the crazier scenes. Aside from being good at beating people up these guys are also more than decent actors.

My brother and I aren’t exactly fans of martial arts cinema or action films in general, but we still enjoyed this movie a quite a bit. I guess it’s because of the romantic tone throughout and because it’s such a simple story. You can easily distinguish between good and evil and you’re genuinely rooting for this cool chick to save her mom. It also made me reconsider Thai cinema. I haven’t seen many movies from this country yet, but now I’m sort of intrigued. The locations are beautiful and very alluring. I also noticed that I enjoy Thai music, especially the singing. It’s so soft and it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

7 out of 10

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4 comments

    • davideperretta

      😀 Yeah, but sometimes you just need to! Can’t watch serious art house stuff all the time 🙂 I like to switch it up, keep it fresh, discover new things. I think that’s also the beauty of film it’s just so vast and there are good ones in every sub genre. It’s all about finding them!

      • literaryvittles

        You’re 100% right, of course. 🙂 I didn’t even like the apex of the martial arts genre, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” so I doubt I’d like this. But yes, sometimes the quirkiest little TV shows (like Extras) or little-known movies (like Patrik, Age 1.5) turn out to be hidden gems.

      • davideperretta

        Yeah, not big on martial arts myself, but sometimes they’re awesome! I thought ‘Crouching Tiger’ was great 🙂 (although technically it’s a wuxia film, which I understand is a sub genre of martial arts films)

        Wow, I never even heard of those other you mention, but hey! another Skarsgård? Hell yeah! They’re like the Coppolas of actors 🙂 Looks interesting btw. I’ll put it on my watchlist. & Thanks!

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