Blu-ray/DVD: The Buddhist Film Noir of ‘Headshot’

Headshot (Kino) – Thailand filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang made his reputation with a series of stylish, violent, and oddly contemplative crime thrillers (“6ixtynen9,” “Last Life in the Universe”) and he returns to his strengths with this self-styled “Buddhist film noir.”

Shuffling crime movie conventions with philosophical musings (“Justice does not exist in nature,” ponders our tormented hero) and a quest for truth in a world of lies and manipulations, Ratanaruang comes up with a twisty, enigmatic tale about a contract killer with a complicated backstory and a unique perspective. Thanks to bullet in the head (just one of the many “headshots” in the film) he sees everything upside down, which puts him at a real disadvantage in a getaway but doesn’t phase the accuracy of his aim. The film slips back and forth through flashbacks and enigmatic visions, often shuffled out of order, to keep us guessing as to what’s really happening to our enigmatic and oddly passive assassin. It’s just part of the confusion on the way to enlightenment. Which makes this either a very violent Buddhist lesson, or an almost too-clever crime conspiracy of assassins and patsies and detours to contemplate what it all means, both literally and spiritually.

Blu-ray and DVD, in Thai with English subtitles and an optional English dub soundtrack. No supplements beyond a stills gallery and a trailer.

More foreign arrivals on disc at Videodrone

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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