Sundance 2021: “One for the Road”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of the toughest questions most of us would not like to answer is what would we do if we knew we are going to die soon. Death is inevitable even though it provides no warning nor hint of it being close to us. Therefore, what we don’t know is when to say goodbye, make up for old mistakes, or even say sorry to those we hurt before. However, the hero of “One for the Road” gets that chance.

Boss (Tor Thanapob) enjoys his life as a popular bartender in New York City. He makes enough money, dates the girls he wants and has nothing to worry about. All that changes with a phone call of his friend, Aood (Ice Natara), who announces his days being numbered due to leukaemia. Upon arrival in Thailand after his friend’s request, they both embark on a road journey meant to fix old pains and disappointments Aood caused his ex-girlfriends. While Aood’s intention is to get the last blessing and feel better before he dies, it’s up to Boss to look up to this friend and learn from him to live his life in such a way that there would be no need for him to apologize in front of anyone.

“One for the Road” is a celebration of great friendship, goodness, love and life itself. Written by Baz Poonpiriya, Nottapon Boonprakob, Puangsoi Aksornsawang and directed by Baz Poonpiriya, the film creates a self-centered character, Boss, who is selfish at times, arrogant, and thinks of himself only. However, you may say, if he is that bad, why would he leave a comfy life in New York to fulfil the dying wish of his friend. As the story unfolds, and characters are well-developed, we realize that Boss himself must look into his own behavior, past choices and see how can improve from there.

Produced by Wong Kar-Wai, “One for the Road” is an exceptional film with a deep approach to life. With its concept, there is something we all must learn from. There’s something Aood must gain too, even though he does not have much left to live for, nor Boss, whose parents were rich enough to give him money to open his bar. But did he understand how lucky he was with the opportunities life gave him? Yes, there is a lot we can learn from Boss or Aood, but one of the main takeaways of this film, which is stunningly beautiful yet so simple, is to burn no bridges, hurt no one, love and be loved. No hatred, jealousy nor egoism and live life as if it were our last goodbye.

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