BL feature films are literal chimera’s of the BL genre to fans. On the one hand, you have the Boys Love format we all know and love. But then there is the need to reach a much larger audience. For that, you have to create a larger scope of perspective, have more characters than normal, and a gripping story. Lastly, what makes a BL film either a success or a failure is the content. No longer bound by the inherent censorship of a television network, a BL film can get away with much more than a show can. This freedom from censorship allows more room to either grab the audience’s attention like in “The Blue Hour” or lose the audiences like in “Bittersweet Chocolate.” For Writer and Director Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s feature film “Red Wine in The Dark Night,” the challenge of creating an arresting and interesting film was presented, accepted, and accomplished.
Defying the cliché of Thai BL’s formula – a fluffy romance between young men in college – Red Wine in the Dark Night offers a completely different experience for BL fans who are craving for more creativity and novelty. Sukkhapisit has gone beyond boundaries by not only choosing an uncommon theme but also giving a distinctive portrayal of the dynamics of love. Through Wine’s journey of love, viewers can learn about the depth of human emotion and its effect on our behavior as Wine is willing to do almost anything for the one he loves. (Well, it is indeed true that sometimes love can make you blind.) Unconcerned by the reception that it might receive, Red Wine in the Dark Night remains firm in its intention to bring a breath of fresh air to the early years of the growing Thai BL industry.
Wine, played by a very young and talented Fluke Natouch Siripongthon, now a fan favorite, is a beguiling wisp of a man who seems to be a little off in a variety of ways. Night, played by the broody Steven Fuhrer, is an amnesiac man who can only sustain himself on human blood. Boy, played by Tananara Kisthachapon, is a wealthy older man with romantic ties to Wine. Tee, played by Intarasuan Nontapat, is a fellow college student and secret boyfriend of Wine with his own ideas of their future. Mai, played by another fan-favorite Mild Uengtrakul, is a supportive friend to Tee.
It all starts after Wine is dumped by his closeted boyfriend, Tee. Despite feeling heartbroken, Wine still waits patiently for his ex-boyfriend to apologize and rekindle their broken relationship. Tee never comes. One day, Tee’s best friends visit Wine, who is sitting alone in an empty park, and tell him to meet his ex-boyfriend in an abandoned building near the area. For a split second, Wine seems hesitant with the idea, but his longing for Tee’s touch makes him forget his doubt. When Wine arrives at the building, he finds nothing but empty floor space. Feeling devastated, he decides to cry his heart out under the night sky in an abandoned building, hoping to release all the sadness inside. He is about to leave the building when he hears a voice asking for help. Although he’s afraid, he decides to find the source of the voice. After looking around for quite some time, he finally found what he’s looking for. The voice that cries for help is apparently an injured boy sitting, and weakly leaning against the wall, waiting for a miracle. Wine gathers all the courage left in him to help the boy who later on known as the Creature of the Night (he has amnesia, and he can’t stand daylight, so Wine calls him Night). From the brief interaction, a special bond is created between the two boys. As their relationship starts to grow closer every day, Wine is ready to give almost anything to protect Night, which also includes his own life. Yet Night can’t take Wine for granted; he also has his own way to protect the boy with a fragile heart. They meet by fate but stay together out of love. Their relationship is odd, but so is love at times.
Our Thoughts about this Movie
I’ve heard about this movie for quite some time, but I never have the guts to watch it. Honestly, thrillers are not my cup of tea; I can’t stand the tension and all the blood. But just like Wine, who, despite being afraid of Night, is still willing to help him, I finally find the courage to watch the movie. And I can say that I don’t regret it.
Red Wine in the Dark Night may not be a typical BL movie with a worldwide audience, but surely this movie has its own loyal supporters who will watch it over and over again. As for me, I find this movie strangely addictive. There is something about it that keeps you coming back for more, and it’s definitely not the bed scenes (yes, it has plenty of them). After watching it for the second time, I realized that the intriguing storyline and Fluke’s outstanding performance are two main factors that make this movie addictive.
The storyline offers viewers with a distinctive portrayal of the raw dynamics of love. Through the story of each character, viewers can see different manifestations of love in romantic relationships. From Tee, we learn about the love that is not only full of lust but also riddled with significant self-denial and fear. As with Boy, it’s love that gradually turns into an obsession, a desire to possess others and gain full control of their life. Night, on the other hand, shows that love is based on trust and honesty. These two characteristics are essential to maintain the relationships; when either one is gone, the relationship will begin to crumble. And from Wine, we learn that love is exceptionally powerful because people will do almost anything in the name of love. For me, this movie has succeeded in showing the depth of love and human emotions as well as its effect on our behaviors; this can remind us once more that love, if not interpreted correctly, can lead us into bad things.
Besides the plot that I think has been beautifully written by the writer, the movies also offer solid acting from the casts. However, Fluke is indeed the star of this show. I know that he is a talented actor, but his performance in Red Wine in the Dark Night is beyond my expectation. He successfully personifies the progression of Wine’s character, from an innocent boy with a saintly appearance into a madman who will do anything to protect the one that he loves. I swear, after watching this movie, I can’t see Pharm, his character in UWMA, quite in the same manner as before; his portrayal of Wine will haunt me forever. Congratulations, Fluke, for this remarkable achievement!
On top of that, I love the fact that the writer gives us a realistic ending. Night throwing himself into a garbage can to symbolize his own feelings towards himself is surprisingly understandable to me. After being betrayed twice by the person that he loves the most, he has just had enough with life, and to prevent from being heartbroken once more, it’s better to just vanish into thin air. So, he did what he had to do. As for Wine, it’s only logical to put him behind bars for what he did to Tee and Boy. I would go berserk if they didn’t make him pay for his wrongdoings. But what I love the most about the ending is the closing scene, which vaguely hints at the fate of the main leads. The beauty of open-ended movies lies in the freedom to interpret the resolution of the story, which, in a way, can give closure to all viewers.
Altogether, I feel content with the movie. There is still room for improvement to make it more entertaining to watch; it feels a bit rushed towards the end and somewhat anticlimactic. Yet, I think that Red Wine in the Dark Night is suitable for those who are open to new experiences and are looking for an escape from monotonous university romance.
While watching the scene where Wine is weeping in the dark empty floor of the building, he hears a voice and assumes it is a ghost. Summoning eerie vibes of horror films, the camera follows Wine as he walks the floor until a hand grabs his ankle. He stumbles back, and a very healthy looking man crawls towards him. If this man is starving, why doesn’t he look starving? Details like this take away from whatever emotion you’re supposed to be feeling as you watch things out of place with the story itself. In the next scene, Wine stumbles over and gets wounded. The smell of his blood revives the man who quickly starts devouring Wine’s blood as if starving. We’re going to assume this next bit is meant to add a bit of levity to the scene. The man that’s on the verge of death stops consuming Wine’s blood when a terrified Wine screams and the two have a conversation on whether or not the man is a vampire. Now, if this man was on the verge of death, why are they having an in-depth talk about it once the man asked if he could drink more of Wine’s blood? No idea, but it was cute to watch.
This interaction becomes the crux of the film as Wine, and the man become friends, and Wine does necessary things for him. Wine cuts his finger, which makes the man visibly uncomfortable and guilty as he doesn’t want Wine to be hurt. Even as he drinks the blood, he watches Wine unblinkingly, saddened by the pain he is causing Wine. The scene is beautifully acted by Steven Fuhrer and speaks volumes of his character.
As the film begins its inevitable spiral toward the crashing of the character’s hopes, we witness heartfelt moments of honesty from Tee. His love confession to Wine is one of the most honest moments of the film. Unfortunately, Wine is too far gone to care. Meanwhile, Night experiments from the confines of the apartment with sunlight and learns it does burn him because he is a vampire. By this point, unfortunately, the film has gone off on so many tangents as far as the script goes I didn’t feel it matters.
Here in the final moments, is where the film falls apart for me logically. At this point, Wine is insane, that’s obvious. But as the dreams and flashbacks come more frequently, we finally see Wine’s perception of his actions. Night’s back story is revealed in what felt to me as an out of place moment. The amount of inconsistency in it killed any emotional connection I was supposed to have.
Red Wine in the Dark Night was beautiful to watch, although it left me with mixed feelings. Well cast and well-acted, the film was made with love from everyone involved in it. But in the final moments, the script seemed to implode on itself, which is sad given how good and strong it starts. Fluke’s descent into madness as Wine was mesmerizing to watch. He and Steven played their roles perfectly, and I enjoyed all their scenes. It’s hard to say if I could call it a good film since the majority of the later portion seemed to deviate from the rest of it. If the film had stopped at eighty percent, I would have been the happiest. Even the Boy storyline was handled well, and the writer did a wonderful job revealing the extent of their relationship. It was sexual and extremely upsetting, which I believe was the point. It becomes clear that all three of Wine’s lovers play heavily into what he wants out of the perfect man.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars [See our Review Guide]