Not Friends (2023) Movie Review

Not Friends

In the ever-evolving landscape of cinema, KlikFilm has once again graced the silver screen with its latest masterpiece, “Not Friends,” directed by the talented Atta Hemwadee in a stunning directorial debut. Following the success of their previous release, “Monster,” the anticipation surrounding this latest creation has been nothing short of palpable.

Released in Thailand on October 26, 2023, and now making waves globally, “Not Friends” has been selected as Thailand’s official entry for the prestigious 96th Academy Awards in the Best International Film category. Atta Hemwadee not only directed but also crafted the compelling script, adding an extra layer of artistic depth to this cinematic gem.

Exploring the universal theme of coming of age, “Not Friends” intertwines with the tapestry of our everyday lives, offering audiences a mirror reflecting their own experiences. As cinephiles eagerly await to immerse themselves in this poignant narrative, the critical question arises – does “Not Friends” live up to the expectations set by the discerning audience at Cineverse? To unravel this cinematic mystery, let’s delve into the insightful review below.

Not Friends (2023) Synopsis

In the realm of high school dynamics, Pae (played by Anthony Buizeret) emerges as a transfer student haunted by past troubles. Little did he know that a chance encounter with Joe (portrayed by Pisitpol Ekaphongpisit), who extended a friendly hand on the very bench they shared, would unravel a poignant and unexpected journey.

Tragedy strikes when Joe meets an untimely demise, leaving the entire school in mourning. Pae, seizing an unconventional opportunity, envisions a path to college without facing the usual entrance exams. The catch? He must triumph in a short video competition. Pae seizes the initiative, crafting a heartfelt video tribute to Joe. To capture the essence of Joe’s life, he interviews friends and acquaintances who share their cherished memories.

Bokeh (played by Thitiya Jirapornsilp), Joe’s classmate since middle school, readily embraces Pae’s initiative. The school community, including Joe’s grieving mother, throws its support behind Pae and his friends, contributing both emotional and financial backing.

As the narrative unfolds, the initial camaraderie and well-intentioned project give way to the revelation of concealed secrets from Joe’s past. These revelations, previously hidden from their awareness, force Pae and his friends to reassess their perception of Joe, challenging them to confront the complexities of his true identity. The journey takes an unexpected turn, delving into the depths of friendship, loss, and the intricate layers of human connection.

Review Not Friends Movie

Has many interesting layers and twists

The narrative of Not Friends is very deep and unexpectedly has many layers to it. By using dynamic flashbacks in several scenes, Atta tries to explain a fairly long timeline.

Starting from Pae’s problems at his old school, Joe’s past, Bokeh’s past, and also Joe’s friendship with Pae at that school. The pace is fairly slow, so that we can get to know some of the main characters well.

One interesting thing is the emergence of a new sub plot that changes the overall narrative of the film, especially Pae’s relationship with Bokeh. This new sub plot produces a surprising twist and will surprise the audience about Joe’s perspective that Atta has been cultivating since the beginning of the film.

The narrative is neatly stitched by including multiple genres

As a coming of age film from Thailand, of course Not Friends does not only appear as a serious drama.

This film has a very neat plot and is presented complete with a touch of comedy, as well as tension and mystery whose transitions are very smooth. This alternating change of genre can indirectly maintain the tension of the film until it is finished. We will be entertained with all kinds of expressions that are difficult to put into words.

The chemistry between several of the main characters

Anthony Buizeret and Thitiya Jirapornsilp, who previously played in You & Me & Me (2023), can show that their chemistry is only getting closer. Even though in Not Friends they are not a couple, as a team they need each other and are irreplaceable.

Not only Anthony and Thitiya, the other supporting characters also perform well with their own unique qualities that will make us laugh, be moved, and at the same time annoyed to see them.

Conclusion

Not Friends unfolds on the cinematic canvas with an extraordinary brilliance that surpasses the ordinary. The synergy of its elements is seamless, devoid of any glaring imperfections. The narrative delves into profound depths, intertwining layers and subplots that promise unforeseen twists, adding an element of surprise for its audience.

While the intriguing twists enhance the overall appeal, they contribute to a seemingly endless denouement, extending the duration of the film. Nevertheless, the film’s visual aesthetics and musical score exude charm, infused with a plethora of imaginative elements. This creative ethos, embodied by Joe throughout his life, finds vivid expression in Atta’s cinematic endeavor.

Joe’s imaginative spirit becomes a pivotal force in Pae’s filmmaking journey. The seeds of creativity planted during the production of short films not only alter Joe’s own perspective but also catalyze a paradigm shift in Pae’s perception of the shared existence they inhabit—a parallel world where their friendship evolves from youth to adulthood.

However, as Pae confronts the enigma of reality, he realizes that it holds a mysterious tapestry, compelling him to venture beyond the confines of his comfort zone. “Not Friends” serves as a poignant testament to the transformative power of imagination, prompting viewers to reflect on their own realities.

This emotionally resonant narrative, set to captivate audiences, invites them to embark on a soul-stirring journey. Mark your calendars for the film’s release on January 24, an event that will unfold simultaneously across Indonesia.

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