6ixtynin9 (1999) is a darkly comic Thai flick of coincidences that lead from a box of money to an increasing pile of dead bodies. Tum (Lalita Panyopas) is one of many blue blazer wearing women working for a finance company that is feeling the pinch of hard economic times. When the boss announces that three people have to be laid off, Tum becomes one of the unfortunate few now jobless and uncertain of her future. What is a girl to do?
Prospects are dim. That night, Tum dreams of suicide, wakes up to a dirty phone call, and a nock at her door. On her doorstep is a taped up noodle box. She opens the box and finds that it contains $25,000. She tries to wrap her head around the situation, but before she can decide to turn the money in or give into the temptation to keep it, two thugs in athletic gear bust into her apartment and begin demanding the money. She fights them off and even ends up killing them. A box of money. Some dead thugs. Again, what is a girl to do?
What I just described is really the first ten to fifteen minutes of the film. More twists ensue. Tums apartment beccomes a makeshift morgue. Basically, Tum finds herself involved in an increasingly dense web from which she cannot easily get free. The money was payoff to a fight fixer and it went to Tums room due to a missing screw turning her room number upside down (thus, the films title). At first, her conscience does lead her to the police, but fear leads her right back out of the station. As more thugs come calling, the bodies continue to pile up... add to that a nosey neighbor, some cops down the hall doing a drug bust, and Tum's life becomes a black comic mess of coincidences and double crossing.
From The Last Life in the Universe director Pen-Ek Ratanarvang, 6ixtynin9 confidently straddles the line between comedy and crime. The film effortlessly switches gears from serious visceral gruesomeness to broad humor. A serious scene of Tum in the police station waiting room where her shell shocked guilt over killing the first two thugs has her imagining the worst is contrasted by the humor of two more thugs looking around her apartment and answering her phone, only to get her obscene mouth breather on the other end. Lalita Panyopas plays Tum as a bit of a blank slate; she is convincing in that, from the first moment we meet her, she is reeling from losing her job, therefore her reaction to her misfortunate fortune is, considering the tone of the movie, very fitting. The film ends up being fun pulp, that is, it puts believable emotion in an unbelievable situation, delivering both shocks and laughs for a breezy and entertaining feature that lives in the same universe as Pulp Fiction, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Out of Sight, though with a distinctly Asian flavor.
The DVD: Palm Pictures
Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen. Overall the transfer is kinda' ugly. Still, some low standards do apply, I just cannot help it when it comes to imports these days. Although working with the constraints of a very un-Hollywood budget, the production looks quite good. Now, that isn't say the constraints don't come across in the odd low contrast scene or the level graininess in the print. Some minor edge enhancement and overall lacking, muddled definition.
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Thai language with optional English subtitles. Pretty simple mix. Nothing outrageous for the ear, but still, clear and well done.
Extras: Original Thai trailer— Palm Pictures previews.
Conclusion: The lack of extras is a disappointment. Still, the sound and image elements are in pretty good shape. The film itself is a quirky crime/comedy pleaser well worth a rental or a casual purchase.