Film Review: Die Tomorrow (2017)

Death eludes me. The word in itself comes with plenty of questions that I still cannot answer, and the act in itself is one of those things you cannot know for certain until you are at the end yourself. After all, there are different kinds of deaths. No two people dying will carry the same intentions, circumstances and fears. 

It greets everyone differently - in accidents, illness and old age. While being predictable (because everyone passes on eventually), Death still remains one of the most mysterious and least talked about. 

So if you are to die tomorrow, would you prefer to know it or not? 

Can death be a good thing? 

Can it be selfish? 

Written and directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Die Tomorrow is a 75 minutes Thai film depicting the moments before death. The scenarios presented are inspired by news headlines between the years of 2012 to 2016. 

However, you will not be greeted by gruesome scenes of the dying itself. There is no dramatic spilling of blood on roads, nurses rushing into the hospital A & E or crying relatives by a death bed. You will find yourself in the moments leading up to death - the calm before the storm and the start of underlying emotions bubbling to the surface. 

Like death itself, the film itself is fleeting in depicting its scenes. There is a hotel room being cleaned up and restored to its untouchable state. A wife looking out the window after her husband leaves the home. Interview snippets with a child or an elderly gentleman. The scenes are so ordinary that they make your heart ache. Their peacefulness and moments of mindfulness showing you exactly what death takes away, or ironically, how death enhances the importance of these daily normalities to be almost precious. 

The lighting of the scenes gentle and soft, with minimal sound accompaniment. The most prominent sound effects being the breathing patterns of the characters in the scenes or the ominous ticking of a timer that reminds you that every second brings about two deaths around the world. 

The film does not seek to sensationalise dying or death itself, but to present it in its raw form of everyday life and how it actually is. I appreciate this approach of presenting death in its subtleties and in ways most people to be able to connect with. 

You would not be surprised to find yourself in any of those situations - making you aware of just how fickle-minded life can be and the disturbing nature of death in every day innocence (or shall I say ignorance). 

That is where the power of this film lies - in its generous portrayal of the emotions that come with dying. Thamrongrattanarit does not shy away from its messiness but embraces it, and by doing so, the film becomes a digital space for anyone looking to reconcile with the concept of death itself in its physical and emotional act. 

- Dawn Teo
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