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Originally published Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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'Headshot': Hit man's world turns upside down in Thai crime thriller

A movie review of "Headshot," a Thai crime thriller that tells the tale of Tul (Nopachai Chaiyanam), a former policeman-turned-hit man, who after waking from a coma, discovers he now sees everything upside down. It's intriguing and slick, but a bit of a flashback-heavy jumble.

Seattle Times staff

Movie review 2.5 stars

'Headshot' with Nopachai Chaiyanam, Sirin Horwang, Chanokporn Sayoungkul, Apisit Opasaimlikit. Written and directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. 105 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains violence and sex scenes). In Thai, with English subtitles. Grand Illusion.

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Beginning in a lamp-lit room with a shadowy figure making criminal plans and concluding in shattered silence on the forest floor, Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's ("6ixtyni9") latest crime thriller is intriguing and slick, but a bit of a flashback-heavy jumble.

The director uses flashbacks (and flashbacks- within-flashbacks) to tell the tale of Tul (Nopachai Chaiyanam), a former policeman-turned-hit man who, after waking from a coma, discovers he now sees everything upside down. We see the events leading to his injury and his attempts to quit his life as a hit man.

Did the woman who shared his bed really care for him, or was she sent by the nefarious criminals out to get him? Wait, now we're seeing everything upside down, from Tul's point of view. OK, now he's in jail ... no wait ... he's being tortured. And who is the mysterious woman (Sirin Horwang) who conveniently shows up with a getaway car on more than one occasion?

Trust me, I love a good movie puzzle even if all my questions aren't answered by the final frames (the original 1988 version of "The Vanishing" or "Memento"). And while there are some great twists and revelations here, I just kept wishing it would stop with all the cinematic tricks and get to more conventional, straight-

forward storytelling.

Doug Knoop: dknoop@seattletimes.com

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