There frequently comes a film which at first glance looks, feels, and sounds like a copycat of thousands of other preceding titles. The 2011 Thai film SuckSeed is victim to this notion by having a heavily similar plot structure compared to plenty of student-themed movies. It is comedy, drama, slapstick and romance all rolled into two hours of nonstop adrenaline rush. It also happens to be a musical about a group of young dreamers setting up a band to prove that they got what it takes for a shot at fame. Be reminded that danger lies in judging this film based on the aforementioned set-up alone. If you think you will watch something you have seen before, with the entire movie finishing off with one astonishing song number, think again. This film is not called SuckSeed for nothing.
Ped sucks at music and developing a social life, Koong sucks at beating his twin-brother-slash-famous-guitarist, while X sucks at getting the girl of his dreams. What do these three teenagers have in common? Yes, they suck, and what better way to prove the entire student body wrong than to create a band and call themselves SuckSeed. Though most would find nothing special in three testosterone-filled boys joining forces for good music, the story still has an underlying sensitivity that develops as soon as it gains momentum. It is more of a coming-of-age story. Famous musicians of Thailand appear in a few key scenes while singing songs that might as well elevate Thai music to the international market, and by providing these well-known personalities metaphysical roles it becomes clear that the film still makes it a point not to forget its musical aspect by defining how music serves an important function in the development of its characters.
The movie sure knows how to utilize each character well with a script that is masterful in separating the main roles from the supporting ones. It also helps that it is well-acted all throughout, which displays first-time director Chayanop Boonprakob’s capability to bring out the best from each actor. Although lacking in focus during the first half, Jirayu Laongmanee manages to portray Ped with the right amount of awkwardness in the second. Newcomer Pachara Chirathivat as Koong provides a fresh and oftentimes funny depiction of a mischievous yet insecure boy while truly knowing how to handle his character and what the material demands from him. The scene-stealer here is fellow first-timer Thawat Pornrattanaprasert’s X who, despite the short amount of exposure given to him, is still able to seal the deal with his unusual characterization. Though the film bogs down during the third act, the overall rapport of these three actors redeems. Sure, a lot of aspects truly succeed here, but will SuckSeed the band be as successful? It is for the viewer to find out.
These hormone-driven young men soon compose a song that might go down in history as one of the most pessimistic ever written. It is clearly a commentary on how difficult and demanding adolescent life is. Take into consideration the fact that the three characters are not actually “sucky” to begin with and we create a certain perspective that their entire musical endeavor is merely superficial and self-centered. But when we think about it, isn’t adolescence purely shallow, egoistical? SuckSeed does what most films of its genre forget to do: to create an actual depiction of the pangs young individuals undergo to gain acceptance. The film will surely not be as well-received by many, though, as it can alienate Japanese cinema supporters by providing portrayals far different from usual violent teenage students. Add the fact that its masculine nature distances it from being a chick flick, and fans of cheesy romantic dramas are most likely to stay away from this one. That aside, watching the movie is like experiencing sugar rush. It grabs you and it does not let go with all its playfulness and musical sound effects. One of the most refreshingly eccentric titles released this year, SuckSeed is a two-hour attempt to define the youth of Southeast Asia through music, and it does so successfully.