Written and directed by Aditya Assarat, whose debut, Wonderful Town showed great promise, Hi-So is a Thai made film about the struggle people can have with shifting social groups and the alienation they experience when they don’t quite fit in.
Ananda Everingham(Shutter), a rising star in Thailand plays Ananda, a US educated Thai man, who when returning to Thailand lands a starring role in an ‘arty’ movie being shot in a resort devastated by the 2004 tsunami.
When his American girlfriend Zoe arrives during filming, she feels left out and becomes a distraction, causing on set difficulties. In turn she looks for entertainment elsewhere. If this was Tokyo, as in Lost in Translation, there might have been more options for her. Instead hanging out with the hotel staff in the deserted hotel is where her fun levels peek.
The movie is split into two halves, in the second half (filmed in Bangkok) things are reversed and Ananda’s new girlfriend May is the one who doesn’t fit his ‘Hi-So’ life (an abbreviation of High Society, a Thai term for a certain kind of social person).
The story you feel is based on much of Aditya’s personal experiences from being born in Bangkok, and then studying film production at the University of Southern California.
It’s not a bad movie, it’s well shot, and the actors all give natural performances, the problem though is the narrative, which is not so much laid back, more semi-conscious. While individual scenes are will crafted and executed, the story doesn’t hold enough weight for you to really become properly engaged with it.
You are waiting for a flash of Jarmusch magic, or a proper story hook, but it never really arrives. Maybe that is what the director is trying to reflect, but the result is a feeling of alienation by the audience towards the film itself.