Superstar Thai actor-model Toni Rakkaen headlines this debut feature from Korean-American writer-director Josh Kim. As the now-grown Oat, he recalls his childhood experience of trying to rescue his gay older brother, Ek (Thira Chutikul), from being drafted into military service. As Ek grapples with the gritty realities of life in Bangkok—working at a bar for male hustlers and sex-workers—he has also found love with his more privileged boyfriend, Jai (Arthur Navarat). When the moment of truth arrives with the draft lottery, these 21-year-olds must draw either a black or a red slip to possibly be conscripted into the armed forces. Who will be sent off to the service and who will get to stay home?
Told with an nuanced detail from the younger brother’s point of view, this drama takes a refreshingly unadorned and impartial look at an essentially loving environment where social conditions are governed by corruption and false ideals. Wolfe Video (wolfevideo.com). —Troy Carrington