Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The Stars: Jirayu Laongmanee, Pachara Chirathivat, Nattasha Nualjam, Thawat Pornrattanaprasert.
The Story: As a young boy Ped (Jirayu Laongmanee) is a socially awkward loser who’s also nursing a crush on his popular and talented classmate, Em (Nattasha Nualjam). In an attempt to break the ice, Ped works up the courage to ask Em for singing advice but soon learns that she’s moving away.
Flash forward into teen-hood and Ped is still a bit of an outcast, along with childhood buddy Koong (Pachara Chirathivat). Tired of being ignored and suffering in the shadow of his twin brother Kay, who plays lead guitar in slick rock group ‘The Arena’, Koong decides to form his own band and ropes in an unsuspecting Ped to play bass, as well as basketball enthusiast Ex (Thawat Pornrattanaprasert) on drums.
At the same time, Em returns for the new school year and inspired by the boys’ spunky attitudes, offers to join the trio. But things get complicated when Koong and Ped start fighting for her attention. With a music contest drawing near, will the team kiss and make-up in time for the big band showdown?
The Buzz: From the same people who brought us other lovable Thai rom-coms like Hello Stranger and Bangkok Traffic Love Story, SuckSeed is director Chayanop Boonprakob’s debut feature. The movie is based on a mockumentary he explored as a final year school project, which was shown at the Thai Short Film and Video Festival a few years back.
inSing.com says: Boisterous, entertaining and riding on a generally well-tuned story that strikes a surprisingly emotional chord, SuckSeed plays like an extended music video underscored by teen-friendly, pop-rock ditties framed in stylish vignettes. Indie director Boonprakob’s youthful sensibilities and approach will likely be a hit with the Gen Y crowd. Topping off its hip quotient, the film also features a string of cameos from popular Thai rock bands like Bodyslam, Paradox and So Cool.
Ultimately it’s the winsome cast who shine the brightest in SuckSeed, and that’s not only because they perform their own music in the film. Chirathivat is an absolute scene stealer as goofball Koong, and despite his tender age shows immense promise balancing drama and comedy.
With his puppy-dog expressions and vulnerable allure, Laongmanee has the makings of a teenage heartthrob poised on the fringe of his big break. Hailing from renowned music pedigree (her father happens to be Thai blues veteran Laem Morrison), pixie-faced newcomer Nualjam shreds the guitar like a pro though she’s no award-winning actress, and handles her role with breezy, effortless charm.
Contrary to the way the film title’s spelt, SuckSeeddoesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty awesome fodder for the teenage, musician-aspiring soul.