Bang Rajan | Chicago Reader

Bang Rajan

Oliver Stone has loaned his name to the U.S. distribution of this much-honored Thai feature (2001, 119 min.), and one can easily imagine why: like some of his own movies, it navigates the turbulent waters where history converges with myth. Set during Burma's assault on the Siamese in 1765, this epic chronicles the title village's desperate stand against overwhelming Burmese forces, who launched eight savage assaults before finally vanquishing the holdouts. The battle scenes are bloody, visceral, and expertly edited, though arterial spray consumes so much screen time that the numerous subplots, involving 11 legendary Siamese defenders well-known to Thais, may feel perfunctory to Westerners despite some strong performances. Thanit Jitnukul directed. In Thai with subtitles.

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