Film Review: Nang Nak
Based on an ancient Thai folk legend, Nang Nak tells the story of a young couple, Mak and Nak, who share an idyllic existence in a stilted wooden house on a quiet rural bayou. Nak is a beautiful and devoted wife who caters to Mak's every desire and comfort, and Mak provides for his bride by fishing, foraging and farming. Life is good, until Mak is called to war in the city of Bangkok, leaving a pregnant Nak behind to fend for herself.
Mak's best friend is killed in the war, and Mak himself suffers a serious wound. Nonetheless, he manages to make it back home to reunite with Nak and their newborn son. But it isn't long before Mak begins to realize that all is not as it seems. Nak is as devoted as ever, and the baby they dote upon is fat and healthy, but Mak senses the shroud of dread that has fallen over their fellow villagers. He is shunned by many as he begins to hear rumors of death and delusion. An eerie chill comes with each nightfall, as the plaintive wail of a ghostly voice wafts through the village on the wind that blows down from the lonely mountains. When a series of mysterious deaths plague the village, the village shaman and his disciples decide that it's time for Mak to learn the truth.
Nang Nak is an artful and elegant portrayal of the traditional Thai lifestyle, imbued with the deep cultural values and ancient superstitions that permeate the ethos of the Thai people. With its masterful cinematography, refined talent, minimal dialogue, and subtle drama, director Nonzee Nimibutr has created a hauntingly memorable cinematic work.
Nang Nak is available on DVD at Amazon.com