Review: One For the Road (Sundance 2021)

Title: One For the Road
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Baz Poonpiriya
Starring: Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Thanapob Leeratanakajorn, Ice Natara
Runtime: 2 hrs 16 mins

What It Is: Boss (Thanapob Leeratanakajorn), a high-end club owner living in New York, receives a call from his estranged friend in Thailand, Aood (Ice Natara), revealing he is in the last stages of terminal cancer. Helping the latter find some sense of closure during the little time he had left, Boss and Aood would go on a trip down memory lane as the two traveled across Thailand so Aood can return items to his many exes.

What We Think: Those looking for one of the coolest films to come out of this year’s festival need not look elsewhere as One for the Road definitely fits that bill. While too much style over substance is a frequent argument when it comes to film, this one provides a harmonious balance of both. Though its longer running time, clocking in at almost 2.5 hours, maybe a contentious point for some, it’s a blast to watch that will surely get viewers to feel a gamut of emotions along the way. Many will laugh, cry, and cheer (among other things) over the course of this road trip drama. Its non-linear structure may lose some but it all comes together beautifully at the end, resulting in a rich story about love and loss and the power of friendship. Featuring some unique and beautiful cinematography and an awesome soundtrack, the film is certainly not a dull one. Their collective history was a long and complex one as we learned the story behind their friendship and Aood’s many relationships. Those stories were definitely wild, to say the least, but that wasn’t the whole story. As this story came to light, this was where the film shined as it had slowly been building up to that point.

Our Grade: A, One For The Road is an utter blast of a watch, combining a cool style and a killer soundtrack with a compelling and heartbreaking story of love and loss. The performances of Leeratanakajorn and Natara as Boss and Aood and their great chemistry tie it all together effectively. While powerful in their own right, in the end, the journey works because of them, and what a journey it was!

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Author: Keith Noakes