28th Jul2020

‘The Pool’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Theeradej Wongpuapan, Ratnamon Ratchiratham | Written and Directed by Ping Lumpraploeng

I have been very excited about seeing The Pool for a long time. The poster and initial images I saw were impressive and I have always loved the idea of movies set in one small location. Whether it be Phone Booth, Man On A Ledge, Ryan Reynold’s in Buried or genre movies like Pontypool and Exam. Even my favourite movie, The Breakfast Club, could be included in the same niche genre.

So a guy stuck in an emptied swimming pool with a crocodile had me jumping for joy…

That sounds like a pretty small idea for an hour and a half movie but do not worry, writer and director Ping Lumpraploeng has a lot of ideas to fill the time. Almost every one of these ideas are ways to torture the lead character Day, played by Theeradej Wongpuapan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character go through so much pain, so much turbulence, so much heartache and so much bad luck! Seriously, he must be the unluckiest person on Earth. Not only was he so tired that when cleaning up a swimming pool he helped work on, that he fell asleep on a float. But when he woke up the swimming pool was empty and no-one was there to help him except his dog, Lucky (not an appropriate name unfortunately – sorry animal lovers). From this point onwards, his life gets very very difficult.

I don’t know how the director came up with some of this stuff, and yes it does get a bit silly but it’s all the better for it! The more ridiculous it gets, the more fun the movie becomes. You’d think the crocodile would be his biggest worry, and it is a constant thorn in his side, but he also has many more problems. Again and again you will think he’s out, he’s managed to escape the pool, only to have another sudden down turn in luck. He is constantly teased with a lifeline only for it to be taken away moments later. The director seems to delight in torturing and tormenting this poor soul and in all honestly, it’s highly entertaining to watch.

Day is not the perfect character. In fact there’s a slightly odd (only because it feels a bit out of place) abortion message here, but whatever he does, he does not deserve the punishment he receives. You might dislike him for three quarters of the movie but I guarantee you’ll want to see him survive by the end. And credit has to be given to actor Wongpuapan, who must have put his all into the role. He’s excellent and the movie wouldn’t be as good without him.

The only real issue I had with The Pool was the CGI at times with the crocodile. This was definitely not a real croc that the actor had to face. Strangely it looks decent enough at times but at others it does take you out of the scene for a second because of how bad it looks. Thankfully, it didn’t matter overall,partly because of the ridiculousness of the rest of the film.

The Pool wont be for everybody but those who give it a chance will reap the rewards. You’ll laugh, smile and grimace at every exhausting moment and I doubt you’ll see a more entertaining movie this year.

**** 4/5

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