By The Time It Gets Dark follows the overlapping narratives of a group of seemingly separate individuals as their lives begin to weave together across the course of the film. An actor, a director, and a number of other characters ranging from a cleaner to a Buddhist, are all linked together across the structure of Thai society. As the director interviews actors in a beautifully designed house in the Thai countryside, it starts to become increasingly unclear as to whether the film is our film with the events playing out in front of us, or whether it is that of the directors, or perhaps even a combination of both.
Director Anocha Suwichakornpong’s style is slow and hypnotic; it lulls you with the sound of the country’s insects and long still shots as we watch the characters go about their life. But the pacing is not necessarily the slow expressive pacing of a film that asks you to watch the beauty of people’s everyday actions. It is deliberate, with the cuts clearly defined. It reveals its subject matter, Thai politics and activism, personal stories, relationships, and cinema itself, but it does so slowly and definitely, finally reaching something more complex and mysterious and less easy to pin down. It uses its imagery and combined narratives in a way that is never obvious, it doesn’t pander to the desire for complete revelation, but by doing so it is able to better explore its subjects, and to juxtapose many elements of society together in a way that could not have been done by a conventional narrative. As a whole it is unconventional. Both in its structure and its content. It asks something of its audience. But it does so in a way that is unique and interesting and strangely dreamlike.
Beau William Beakhouse