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Starring: Asano Tadanobu, Gang Hye Jung, Ken Mitsuishi, Eric Tsang, Maria Cordero
Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Rating: NC-16 (Some Nudity)
Year Made: 2005








Languages: English/Japanese/Korean
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Letterbox
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Comstar Entertainment




After inadvertently killing his girlfriend, a man (Asano) flees Macau for Thailand in an attempt to cope with his guilt and avoid possible arrest. But the relocation doesn't prevent his problems from following him, as his new friends could be potential enemies. The film explores why people kill and how they live with and resolve their guilt. It attempts to show that a person who hires and a person who kills are as much a victim as the person he kills. Everyone is a victim and everyone is full of guilt.


There are many things in life which do not make sense. Art movies, for example, are one of them. Some may argue that this genre of movies are made for the more intellectual, but whether the director is just enjoying self-indulgence while making his film, we as audiences may never know.

For those who are familiar with Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s works, you would know how his latest film is so very different from his first few movies. To initiate the uninitiated, this Thai director’s first three movies Fun Bar Karaoke (1997), Ruang Talok 69 (1999) and Mongrak Transistor (2001) are fun and enjoyable showcases of the Thai lifestyle.

Then came 2003’s Last Life in the Universe. It dealt with depressing issues like suicide and the meaning of life. Now we have this pan-Asian collaboration that is Invisible Waves, which we must say, has reached another level of bleakness which may be a tad too gloomy for some to handle.

The story is seemingly simple. A man (Tadanobu Asano) escapes from Macau for Thailand after accidentally killing his girlfriend. Obviously this man wants to avoid being caught, but deep inside him, he has to deal with some heavy notions like guilt, remorse, and repentance. Unfortunately for him, things do not get any better in Thailand.

How deep and undecipherable can a film with such a storyline be? Never underestimate the power of art movies, we’d advise you. If the themes dealt with in this 115-minute isn’t drab and unhappy enough for you, the style of the movie will get to you, one way or another.

The film moves so slowly and indulgently, it will make you notice every corner of every frame: whether that is a good thing, we will not pass judgment. But one thing is for sure, the visuals are beautiful to look at, thanks to renowned director of photography Christopher Doyle.

Then there is this thing about these art movies - what exactly are they getting at? There are many bewilderedly odd scenes which will make you ponder what exactly is happening. There must be something deeper than what is presented on screen, you’d think. Then when the frequency of these scenes gets the better of you, you’d find yourself laughing at them.

The cast delivers a fine performance without looking ridiculously silly. Actors to look out for include Eric Tsang as a philosophy-spouting monk and Maria Cordero as a motherly caretaker. In fact, everyone is so serious and intense in their roles that it got us all heavy-hearted and sullen at certain points in the movie.

For those who are patient and have been exposed to art films like this, the message behind this movie still has the power to make you realize what a bleak and sad world we live in. If that is what the director is trying to convey with this film, then we are proud to proclaim that we are indeed intelligent audiences who can appreciate art films. For that, we’d award this movie with an extra half a star.


The visual transfer preserves the lush colours which are signatory of Christopher Doyle, and there is a choice of either Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1.


No extra features are included in this Code 3 DVD, though we thought it’d be nice to have a commentary by the director to explain to clueless viewers what he is exactly getting at.



Review by John Li



Other titles from Comstar:

. Paradise Now

. She's The Man

. Russian Dolls

. Beyond The Sea

. Kursk

. Voice

. The Last Communist

. Jasmine Women

. Running Wild

. You are my Sunshine

. My Girl & I

. Half Light

. Mur (The Wall)

. Mrs Henderson Presents

. Hidden

. The Descent

. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

. A Season for Love

. Horror Theater Series 2

. Horror Theater Series I

. Capturing the Friedmans

. The Wig

. A Wicked Tale

. As It Is In Heaven

. When I Turned 9



This review is made possible with the kind support from Comstar


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