Director Kim Mordaunt invites us on the journey of Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe), a child who lives in a remote village situated in the Laos mountains. When his mother gave birth to him, she gave birth to a stillborn child as well; in Laos culture it’s bad luck when twins are born, one is considered blessed, whilst the other is labelled as a curse.
After a series of unfortunate events Ahlo, his family and his entire village are left homeless in a shantytown. His wise old grandmother is convinced that Ahlo is cause of all of this bad luck. He meets a young orphan girl Mila (Loungnam Kaosainam) who is being raised by her uncle, Laos’ answer to the King of Soul, James Brown!
I’ve just given you a loose plot of The Rocket as I want you to look out for this marvellous little film. The footage, the faces and the beautiful setting makes you believe you’re watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel. You cannot fault the cast of this movie; sure you’ll hate the bull-headed stubbornness of the grandmother, but it shouldn’t spoil the film for you.
The film is a slow burner; obviously the main pay off is at the end of the story but I was surprised to see the film’s running time was one hour thirty minutes, it felt closer to two hours. Yet despite that downside, there is a fair amount of positive points to the film. The children in the cast are wonderful. The whole premise of the festival in the third act is entertaining. I’d like to imagine that 90% of this cast is made up of Laos locals, the banter amongst the festival goers and the judges is spot on.
Eureka’s Blu-ray release is the obvious choice for this film, the colours of the forest and the water are crystal clear – it looks wonderful. The Special Features on the Blu-ray include a feature length commentary from Kim Mordaunt as well as a near 20 minute interview with the director. He does in depth with the making of the film, what inspired him, how the cast related to one-another etc.
Overall The Rocket is a wonderful gem of a movie, it won’t be for everyone, but I think for fans of Beasts Of The Southern Wild, this is right up their street!