Hall and Oates at Their Best
Zee-Oui Man Eater (2004): 6 out of 10: This movie takes the concept of a bleeding heart liberal to a whole new level.
The main character is a very put upon man. He is traumatized by the horrors of war in his native China, practically enslaved in a foreign country where he doesn’t speak the language, tormented by native Thai bullies, body racked by tuberculosis, and barely able to work or eat. He is a genuinely sympathetic character, and the filmmakers waste not one moment making sure we feel his pain.
He is also a believer in alternative or homeopathic medicine. Unfortunately for the Thai small fry, the secret holistic Chinese cure for tuberculosis is the still warm heart of a small child eaten raw. Oh, this is a true story.
Set in 1946, the filmmaker twins Buranee Rachjaibun and Nida Suthat Na Ayutthaya do a great job setting the stage, and this is a genuinely handsome production. Gorehounds may feel they mistakenly walked on the set of some strange all Asian Les Miserables and while the cannibalistic violence shows up occasionally, this will not be mistaken for an Italian cannibal film. Think Silence of the Lambs but with Charlie from Flowers for Algernon as the protagonist.
While the main story invokes an almost disturbing sympathy for a despicable character much like “M” did the subplot of the investigating female reporter, and her terrible past and tepid romance drags the movie to a halt.
Overall Zee-Oui lacks a subtle undercurrent that would make this a better film. Every point is pounded home endlessly and by the time our main heart eater is crying over his flooded lettuce patch I was ready to scream, Enough! Apparently, even God hates him. Probably because he goes around killing children and eating them. But that is just a wild guess mind you.