Review of “The Long Walk”: A ghostly future in Laos

Lao drama “The Long Walk” takes a languorous look at a near-future dystopia where fighter jets leave trails of smoke in the sky and government authorities track down missing people using microchips embedded in their body. In this reality, a spiritual and occult world exists under the noses of officials.

The film follows an unnamed protagonist (Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy), a lonely elderly man known to his townspeople as someone who can communicate with the dead and find missing people.

But what the medium’s clients don’t know is that it also helps women who are sick and desperate to ease life’s difficulties to ease their own death. When a young woman (Vilouna Phetmany) asks him for advice on finding her missing mother, she does not know that the body he is leading her to is the one he buried himself.

The hermit travels along the road linking life and death, accompanied by ghosts and in possession of powers that allow him to visit and potentially alter his own past. Yet despite the lofty concepts that drive the film’s story, its writer and director, Mattie Do, doesn’t overload the film with exposition or explanation.

She sets a leisurely pace, pausing to observe how the moist air interacts with the smoke from the shaman’s vape pen. The atmosphere here is dense with textural detail and requires patience to sift through the layers of meaning that are packed into each frame. The payoff for waiting for the fog to lift is a film that presents a unique take on sci-fi, which searches for the ghosts that linger in a world shaped by technology.

The long walk
Unclassified. In Lao, with subtitles. Duration: 1h56. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

About Victoria Rothstein

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