Film Review – The Rocket (2013)

The Rocket - post

Title – The Rocket (2013)

Director – Kim Mordaunt (Bomb Harvest)

Cast – Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Suthep Po-ngam

Plot – Forced to leave their home village Ahlo (Disamoe) and his family must go on a journey that unearths much heartache and pain but also a chance for salvation in the form of a rocket building contest where Ahlo can prove once and for all he is not the cursed boy many think he is.

“I’m not cursed”

Review by Eddie on 28/04/2014

An Australian co-production that deserves to be seen by a lot more than would’ve currently experienced it, The Rocket is one of those feel good films that is impossible not to fall for despite it not quite going on with the early promise of the possibility of a new classic.

Director Kim Mordaunt clearly has a spot in his heart for the people of Laos (where this film is set), no doubt stemming from his time filming his scary and touching documentary on the amount of unexploded bombs left over in the country in the 2007 doco Bomb Harvest. Weaving his knowledge of this true life aspect of the country Mordaunt tailors a touching story around it that features some stand out child actors and a particularly groovy uncle in the form of the James Brown loving Uncle Purple played very well by Suthep Po-ngam, but in the end it is the aforementioned child actors that steal the film and make it what it is.

As determined and supposedly cursed young boy Ahlo young actor Sitthiphon Disamoe does a supreme job of portraying a boy that unfortunately bares the stigma of being born a twin into a village that believes twins carry a curse. Ahlo’s journey that he takes with family is fraught with both sadness and joy and it’s here that the film struggles to lay hold onto what it’s setting out to achieve with moments of emotion not played out to full effect and comedic elements feeling misplaced amongst them. Mordaunt must of found it hard to place all these varying emotions into the right place and the films last 20 – 30 minutes really shows this. Mordaunt however excels at capturing the beautiful and at times scary images of the country and his direction of Disamoe and also young actress Loungnam Kaosainam as Ahlo’s friend Kia is exemplary, a fine achievement for an Australian director in what is an area that often trips up other compatriots.

Submitted as Australia’s entry into this year’s Academy Awards foreign film category and playing well to festivals the world over its clear many feel an affection for this unique and often heart-warming tale. Australia should be proud of what Mordaunt has achieved here and even prouder of his efforts to highlight the horror of what Laos still has to deal with today thanks to a war that is now sadly largely forgotten.

3 and a half unwashed purple suits out of 5

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7 responses to “Film Review – The Rocket (2013)

    • A little bit mate, but I am sure they loved it because it is a nice little story with a well filmed structure. I know critics down here in Australia loved it due to it’s very funny and touching story.
      Eddie

      • That’s good to know, I just get annoyed when people say foreign films are good because they are foreign, and can never take some opinions seriously because of that.

        Never thought this review was bad though – very good review. Just know some people who say foreign is good because it is foreign.

        And because of that I didn’t know whether to take their opinion on the Rocket seriously or not (they liked it, but have not really said anything beyond that).

      • Understand that sentiment mate, sometimes people want to praise films only that defy the Hollywood regime.

        This one is well worth getting into though, I am sure youd enjoy it.
        Eddie

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