A murder mystery, a 10-year journey, and strong characters bring this 16-episode drama to life.
A Thai mini-series review, by Rich Paschall
This sixteen-part Thai drama is a complex tale of crime, hate, anger, and murder that tears apart the friendship of four families and sends us on a ten-year journey for truth, revenge, and redemption. At the very opening of the first episode, before we even see the opening credits, Mai’s family is called to Marcus Theater where they are asked to identify a body. Mai has been shot and killed. Following this dramatic opening, we see some of Mai’s story leading up to his death. More will be revealed through flashbacks in future episodes.
In episode one, we see little Phukao (Phoo Phooripun Kruthirun), a boy of about 8. He idolizes his older brother Mai (Pluem Purim) who is about ten years older. Even though their father owns an outdoor theater, Mai takes Phukao to the Marcus Theater to see movies. Mai has other reasons to go there which we will learn throughout the series.
Phukao is protective of the younger Kongkwan, a girl from a neighboring family, and he looks after her when she starts school. Kongkwan’s older sister Sutthilak (Pahn Riety), a new teacher, is secretly in a relationship with Mai, still a high school student. It is a forbidden romance.
Lokzo is the daughter of a single father and is friends with the other children. Plu is a few years older than the others and tries his best to keep the younger generation together, despite all that happens. In addition, when he is older (Off Jumpol) he tries to take care of his grandparents who he lives with.
We get to know the families and the younger children in the first episode and see them all together at the outdoor theater, Santi Movies, which has fallen on hard times and is going to close.
Later in the episode, we return to the opening scene. Mai’s girlfriend surprisingly admits to murdering him. Little Phukao is completely traumatized by the scene. His terrified screams are absolutely gut-wrenching.
Even from the little that we have seen of what happened at Marcus Theater, we will soon begin to doubt that “Lak” actually killed her boyfriend. Because of the scandalous event, Lak’s family moved away.
The second episode begins 10 years later. Phukao (Ohm Pawat) is still hurt by the loss of his brother 10 years earlier. The return of Lak’s family so that Kongkwan (Tu Tontawan) can attend the same high school that Phukao is attending brings back pain and anger to Phukao. The sight of Kongkwan and her family reminds him of Lak’s killing of Mai. As time passes, Phukao forces Kongkwan to take him to the prison to see Lak. He has to know why she killed his brother. Instead of learning anything, seeds of doubt are planted that she committed the crime.
As we progress through the early episodes the circle of suspects who might have actually killed Mai begins to widen. It is not immediately apparent who are the bad guys and who are not.
There is a large cast of characters and storylines here. You will have to watch carefully to keep up with who is who. There will be several moments when you will admit, “I didn’t see that coming!”
The parents and Plu’s grandparents all have stories that affect other characters. Mai and Phukao lived with their father (Bank Pawalit) and Phukao’s mother (Nicole Theriault).
Mai had a different mother from an earlier marriage. Phukao’s mother tries to be a parent to both boys but has her own complicated backstory. She had a relationship with Pin (Tai Penpak), a woman we see delivering films to the theater. Sor (Gunsmile Chanagun) is Mai’s best friend. He is involved in some sort of intrigue with Mai. Later, Plu will take Mai’s place. Chalee (Marc Phuan) is the son of drug dealers and the older Phukao’s classmate. Piak (Chalad Na) is the Marcus Theater owner who has taken in Sor and given him work. The police Inspector (Foei Patara) appears to be the son of the local mob boss.
This is a complicated plot with many characters. If you want to know whats going on, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the storyline from the beginning. A short review like this could never touch on all the characters and storylines. The interconnectedness of everything is exactly the element which will keep you hooked.
Mainly the story is about Phukao and his need to know why his beloved brother was murdered. Phoo Phooripun and Ohm Pawat turn in stellar performances as Phukao. Often when we see children playing the younger versions of someone, it is hard to accept them as the same person. Phoo looks enough like young Ohm for you to believe him, but more importantly, he holds his own against this large crew of seasoned GMM TV actors. He is seen in frequent flashbacks in the series which help to explain what was going on 10 years earlier. Ohm embodies the pain and anger Phukao has been feeling for ten years.
You will have found out almost everything about the various crimes, including the murder of Mai, by the end of episode 15. What follows is a protracted denouement for episode 16. This attempt to tie up all of the loose ends and present an odd speech by Sutthilak gives us the only awkward moments of the series.
You may find another surprise during the closing credits. If you have followed Ohm Pawat, you may know that he started taking singing seriously at the beginning of last year, likely the result of the encouragement and coaching from his good friend, Nanon Korapat. It was due to their frequent public appearances together that Ohm learned to sing together with Nanon. His hard work at singing for the Fan Meeting in Thailand (ON Friend City) is well reported.
The OST (official soundtrack) for 10 Years Ticket includes a closing song, “Unlovable,” performed by Ohm. It is his first performance on an official series number. There is also a music video that includes scenes from 10 Years Ticket. He gives an excellent performance and may give his close friend Nanon some competition in the best OST category.
10 Years Ticket is available on YouTube with English subtitles and on other streaming platforms.
Categories: Family, Entertainment, Fiction, Rich Paschall, Television Review
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