Sundance Film Festival 2021 Opens Strong With ‘One For The Road’

One for the Road premieres at Sundance Film Festival 2021.
Tor Thanapob and Violette Wautier appear in One for the Road by Baz Poonpiriya, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Image courtesy of Sundance.

One For The Road begs the question “what would you do if you knew you had little time left to live.” Thai film director, Baz Poonpiriya, penned the script with that question in mind.  Poonpiriya, who is best known for the thriller films Countdown (2012) and Bad Genius (2017), stated he wanted to create a story based on a dream of making amends with his ex-girlfriends. Well, his dream resulted in a romantic, emotional journey for the main character, Aood (Ice Natara) with his old friend Boss (Tor Thanapob). 

Aood basically guilts Boss, who is in New York managing his floundering bar, to fly back to Thailand to help Aood fulfill his dying wish. Aood reveals he has terminal cancer, Leukemia, and needs to make amends with his ex-girlfriend, Alice. Boss, who clearly does not want his life disrupted, begrudgingly agrees. After all, what kind of jerk is going to deny an estranged friend this type of request?

One for the Road premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2021.
Tor Thanapob and Ice Natara in One for the Road by Baz Poonpiriya, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Image courtesy of Sundance.

Aood and Boss embark upon a road trip, in Aood’s late father’s classic BMW, throughout Thailand. Unbeknownst to Boss, this trip is a bit more elaborate than Aood originally lets on. Aood intends to make amends with three ex-girlfriends; lessons learned from each visit. When the two return home, Aood reveals that he has something to return to Boss as well. Boss’ ex-girlfriend, and love of his life, Prim. The story takes a turn exploring the back story of Boss and Prim, who is a master mixologist. Boss and Prim fell madly in love. But as every love story in the movies goes, something tears them apart. In this case, Boss finds an ATM receipt from Prim’s bank account revealing she has a large sum of money. Boss confronts Prim at her place of employment demanding to know how she earned that large amount of money. Prim finally breaks down and admits that Boss’ mother, who is a dysfunctional offshoot story in and of herself, paid Prim to move with Boss to New York to get him away from Thailand. This was the fatal blow to their relationship. Prim stays with Aood after the breakup; Aood inevitably falls in love with Prim. Prim does not reciprocate because she is still in love with Boss. Prim leaves to pursue her mixology career and partake in a competition in Las Vegas. Aood tells Boss that Prim has another boyfriend and has moved to another state. 

Back to present, Aood reveals he is returning Prim to Boss. After all they went through, Boss explodes in anger and tells Aood to “go die alone.” Do Prim and Boss ever reunite? Does Aood die? The creative choices by Poonpiriya leave the audience in tears and pondering. 

One For the Road premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2021.
Ice Natara in One for the Road by Baz Poonpiriya, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Image courtesy of Sundance.

The lush visuals, presented through obscure camera shots, enhance the wistfulness of the storyline despite its dark undertone. Aood’s vivid memories and the rich color palette provide a catalyst for the message of forgiveness. The cast’s wonderful chemistry made the fantasy engaging and endearing. 

Poonpiriya, who collaborated with acclaimed Hong Kong director and producer, Won Kar Wai (won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for Happy Together), has adapted a similar nonlinear style of storytelling and bold colors in his films. The nostalgic 80s song choices left the Sundance audience asking when the soundtrack would be released. 

For more information, visit One For the Road

About Jillian Dale 57 Articles
Film festival coverage and digital content ninja.

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