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Sundance 2021: ‘One for the Road’ successfully takes viewers on bittersweet multicultural journey

Daily Bruin

(Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

“One for the Road” likely won’t have its last call anytime soon.

Directed by Baz Poonpiriya, the feature film premiered Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival as a contender in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition – and it set the bar opening night. Bringing tears, laughter and heartachingly tender romance to the table, “One for the Road” tells the story of Boss (Tor Thanapob) and Aood (Ice Natara) as they return sentimental paraphernalia to Aood’s exes before he succumbs to leukemia. Traversing across tricky histories while searching for forgiveness, the pair navigate their past lives in New York while journeying across Thailand.

The poignancy to Poonpiriya’s film isn’t stated outright, instead it allows stunning visuals and unexpected comedy to shine first. The camera playfully communicates the film’s initially light atmosphere as the narrative opens on Boss bartending in New York. As Thanapob executes all the usual flairtending tricks, the camera isn’t shy to spin and twirl along with him as he shakes a myriad of drinks into existence for his customers. His lively display is also set against smooth jazz music and a kaleidoscope of colors characteristic of a vibrant night out in the city.

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