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Farang (2023) | FilmTotaalReview

Farang (Action, Thriller) (2023)


Director: Xavier Gens

Writer: Xavier Gens, Magali Rossitto, Guillaume Lemans, Stéphane Cabel

Stars: Nassim Lyes, Loryn Nounay, Olivier Gourmet, Vithaya Pansringarm


Following his release from incarceration, a rehabilitated man is forced back into culpability. Avoiding his fated arrest, he flees to a foreign country where his past delinquency seems destined to repeat itself.

Having an abundant catalogue in French film before eventually landing the directorial part of "Hitman" with Timothy Olyphant in the leading role, Xavier Gens isn't the most familiar name, his most recent work being some episodes in the TV Series "Lupin" on Netflix. "Farang", loosely translated to Westerner in an unfavourable tone, much like the word "Gringo’’, shows us a cruel life with the French/Algerian Sam being unable to run from a dangerous crowd. It has been produced by StudioCanal, WTFilms, Same Player, The Ink Connection, France 2 Cinéma and Two Suns Production while being distributed by StudioCanal and IFC Films being streamed on Netflix.

Being imprisoned for several years in France, Sam (Nassim Lyes) finds himself in the crosshairs of a neighbourhood gang trying to coerce him back to a life of crime. His refusal leads to aggression being taken as a lack of respect. Thus, Sam is chased, leading to the unintended death of one of his pursuers in arguable self-defence. Years later, he lives in Thailand with his only daughter and a pregnant wife, Mia (Loryn Nounay). Trying to purchase some land near the water leads him to the unagreeable company of a French businessman named Narong (Olivie Gourmet), who once again introduces a criminal element to Sam's life and forces him on a path of revenge.

Violence is inevitable in Xavier Gens' depiction of underground Thailand. His approach to foreign films integrates French, Thai, and English to form an accessible whole for audiences globally.

Farang - Film 2023 - AlloCinéFrom a distinctly realistic penitentiary in France to the murky, interconnected arterial streets of Thailand, Xavier Gens confronts the stark reality of malfeasance permeating every corner. His shrewd acuity towards convincing environments shines, with ample window dressing manifesting through the eyes of Lyes' Sam, wrangling a positive future by any means necessary, given the duration, taking a solid forty minutes before a brusque juncture turns relative bonhomie into a vicissitude of reprisal.

Farang AKA Mayhem! [2023] - Rabbit ReviewsWithin the vast, hard-hitting sub-genre of Southeast Asian features such as "The Raid" and "Ong Bak", the French production of "Farang" might not provide as intense execution. However, it neatly positions itself between drama and the intense martial arts we adore. Said drama guiding Lyes' Sam through this foreign underground with the substantial preface. It might not be the most elaborate, yet the aforementioned atmosphere creates an unsettling attitude. Even calmer sections require undivided attention, as transitions can be quick. Sitting through much pre-amble is almost worth the entirety of the last minutes of violence with a martial arts showcase, seemingly a combination of Muay Thai and Pencak Silat, which feels quite well done even if less intense; it is a true throwback in style, especially with the unavoidable "Old Boy" scene.

Immersing yourself in this journey provides a decent, if contracted, experience, failing to provide much emotional and societal impact while I can still appreciate the effort that went in. Usually, with exact films like these, I'd give reason to instead focus yourself towards cinematic masterpieces within the same niche. Yet, "Farang" is an experience that can be readily accepted even if it doesn't quite nail each of its aspects.


A foreigner to the Southeast Asian Martial Arts film industry.