6ixtynin9 review by Matt Fuerst


I'll say this, if Hitchcock was Thai, (A) he'd be really funny looking considering how pasty white he was and (B) 6ixtynin9 would be the movie he would make. I really enjoy Hitchcock movies, not just because he made great technical films, or his films had tight scripts (both of which are very true) but because of the constant quirkiness of them. Hitch was willing to explore within moviemaking, trying the "one-take movie" like Rope (where the entire movie flows together as one long shot) or touching on some taboo stuff (man dressing up like his dead mother, nice). Some of my favorite Hitch flicks are his dark comedies, the kind that just exude "British" humor. The best of this bunch is The Trouble with Harry and 6ixtynin9 would make a superb double billing with Hitch's work.

The oddly named 6ixtynin9 (I'll get to that in a minute) is the story of Tum (Lalita Panyopas), a young Thai girl working in a Finance company. The Thai economy is in a downswing and 3 people are going to be let randomly. Tum is one of the few unlucky ones, and is crushed by the news. She returns home knowing full well she won't be able to support herself and has little hope for the future. Following a night dreaming up various suicide implementations, Tum awakens to find a noodle box stuffed with money sitting at her doorstep. Thus begins Tum's journey of unintended consequences, Hitchcock-style.

Not surprisingly, the intended recipients of the money, two Thai kickboxers, show up on her doorstep demanding the money. Tum gets smacked around and the men invade her home, intending to retrieve the money and kill her. Tum has no choice, and in struggling for her life, manages to kill both men. She now finds herself in a situation that has no good outcomes. Calling the police probably won't result in any trouble for her, but she will definitely lose the money. To keep the money, Tum has to do something with a couple of bodies now lying in her living room. Desperation sets in and Tum makes her decision, triggering a series of consequences.

The gang delivering the money thinks the recipients are stealing it, and vice versa. Soon, Tum has members of both gangs visiting and breaking into her apartment, along with members of the police and even nosy neighbors. Tum is presented time and time again with the same scenario, can she now pull the plug on her ruse? Will Tum survive all the men coming to look for the missing money?

From a simple description 6ixtynin9 almost sounds like an action movie, but trust me, it isn't (though I was honestly expecting one). Instead, it's a character driven piece, with Tum being on screen for almost the entirety of the film. Ms. Panyopas does an excellent job with her character, and we really do end up sympathizing with her as she struggles to cling onto her ill gotten gains. In Hitchcock fashion, Tum is a strong, independent and beautiful woman. The cast members surrounding her are an assorted crew, to say the least. The Thai Boxing gang of course goes out sporting the jersey's of the Thai Boxing camp (no such thing as bad publicity), Tum's girlfriend has the most annoying voice that's been successfully recorded and the movie even features a villain whose mother died from a manicure. It's a motley crew and the mixture of humor in the characters and in the story really does keep things fresh and fun, while some real dark things are happening on screen.

Oh yeah, about that name. According to the English subtitles, the Thai title is something like "A Funny Story About 6 and 9" which is a telling, and intriguing title (if you ask me). While I understand the title 6ixtynin9 has some obvious intriguing aspects of it's own, I find it to be more off-putting of a title than one that would draw me to rent it. Especially from some place that had cameras monitoring me. Ah well, I'll chalk this one up to distributors who slapped a pretty girl and that title on the DVD cover and figured it was a "can't miss proposition".

The 6ixtynin9 DVD is a surprisingly great DVD transfer. The original source print is in excellent shape, far better than the Ong Bak print. The DVD is not anamorphic, so I had to use the Zoom feature on my TV, but even Zoomed the print looked better than some mainstream American DVD releases. The audio is the original Thai with English Subtitles. Also included on the DVD is the original theatrical trailer (Thai only) which is an interesting watch since it has some scenes not in the movie.

Overall, a really fun and different movie. I don't think this kind of "lighthearted darkness" is fare most Americans would appreciate ("Trouble with Harry" is hardly any American's favorite Hitchcock film) but then again as I check the IMDB it shows a US remake of 6ixtynin9 being scheduled for a 2006 release. Hopefully they keep the lighthearted, yet dark aspects of the film in tact.

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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