The Elephant King

A tale of opposites, "The Elephant King" takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall.

With:
Oliver Hunt - Tate Ellington Jake Hunt - Jonno Robert Lek - Florence Faivre Diana Hunt - Ellen Burstyn Bill Hunt - Josef Sommer

A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall.

Oliver (Tate Ellington) is a damaged writer with a suicidal bent who lives with his protective mother (Ellen Burstyn) and somewhat emasculated father (Josef Sommer). All three, for different reasons, are preoccupied with Oliver’s brother, Jake (Jonno Robert), a dissipated rake who has fled debt and the law to take up residence among the bars, brothels and kick-boxing rings of Thailand. When he sends for his brother, Mom decides Oliver should bring Jake home to face the music.

The bar culture of Southeast Asia is fertile territory for drama, but “The Elephant King” is more reliant on the decadent atmosphere and sexuality of Thai nightlife than it is on narrative. The course each brother follows is fairly predictable; Oliver’s sexual initiation with Jake’s sometime girlfriend Lek (Florence Faivre) puts him through changes, but director-writer Seth Grossman is willing to take Oliver anywhere that’s novel.

Faivre should have a promising career, not just for her statuesque beauty but for her ability to navigate a role and character fraught with contradictions and moral shoals. She handles Lek’s seemingly split allegiances — between Oliver, Jake and her own culture and countrymen –delicately and with convincing care. Typically, Burstyn, too, is exceptional.

The film has a stylish look, expert editing by Saar Klein, Inbal B. Lessner and Lee Chatametikool, and deserves to find an audience, however niche.

The Elephant King

U.S. - Thailand

Production: A Unison Films presentation, in association with De Warrenne Pictures. Produced by Tamar Sela, Tom Waller, Emanuel Michael. Executive producers, Michael, Alex Morcos, Thomas Werner. Co-producer, Cassandra Kulukundis. Directed, written by Seth Grossman.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor, Panavision widescreen), Diego Quemada Diez; editors, Saar Klein, Inbal B. Lessner, Lee Chatametikool; music, Adam Balazs; production designer, Lee Yaniv; costume designer, Karen Yan; sound (Dolby Digital), Akrit Chaya-ngam; special effects supervisor, Kevin Chisnall; casting, Cassandra Kulukundis. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, May 10, 2006. (In Tribeca Film Festival -- Discovery.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With: Oliver Hunt - Tate Ellington Jake Hunt - Jonno Robert Lek - Florence Faivre Diana Hunt - Ellen Burstyn Bill Hunt - Josef Sommer

More Film

  • 'Over the Limit' Review: A Mesmerizing

    IDFA Film Review: 'Over the Limit'

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • DreamWorks Animation Campus

    Film News Roundup: DreamWorks Animation Campus Sold for $290 Million

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • Mudbound

    Oscar Myth of 'Pure' Movies: Why Netflix, Amazon Should Be Recognized

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • IMAX Opens First European VR Center

    IMAX Opens First Virtual Reality Center in Europe

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • SGIFF: Why Gavin Lim's Diamond Dogs'

    Why 'Diamond Dogs' Had to Premiere in Singapore

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • Mona Fong Mona Fong, wife of

    Singer, Star, Leading Asian Film Executive Mona Fong Dies at 83

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

  • SGIFF: Three Questions With The Singapore

    Singapore Festival: Three Questions With Yuni Hadi

    A tale of opposites, “The Elephant King” takes advantage of seedy Thai locales and the always exotic allure of Americans debauching abroad to tell the story of brothers on two different but ultimately destructive tracks. Festival play is likely, but the film may be too mainstream for arthouses, and too arty for the mall. Oliver […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content