Review: The Long Walk (2022)

  • Director: Mattie Do
  • Writer: Christopher Larsen
  • Stars: Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy, Vilouna Phetmany, Por Silatsa

Review

Mattie Do’s The Long Walk is a mix of ghost stories, sci-fi and time travel with a twist. A deliberate, slow paced film that puts the puzzle together piece by piece in front of your eyes until you see the full picture and the film then ramps up from that point.

An Old Man (yes that is all Chanthalungsy’s character is known as) lives a hermit-like existence on the edge of a small village. Fifty years earlier as a boy he witnessed the death of a woman (Soydara) dying in the jungle and since then her ghost has been beside him on his daily walks since that day. The Old Man uses the ghost to travel back in time to intervene in his own less than ideal childhood. As he manipulates his past, you slowly get to see his motives or at least how his reasons change. The film flips between the future and the past, the future includes microchips embedded in your skin as a way of using digital currency, even though the Old Man get scolded for having outdated technology. We are never sure what year we are in or even what kind of world.

Do takes her time, slowly the Old Man opens up, just as Do’s camera is happy enough to sit in an uninterrupted long shot for a long time. In no hurry with the characters or the story, Do eventually provides us with enough background to the Old Man and what he is doing, what his actions actually mean for the lives he has altered and indeed when he has injected his older self into his childhood. In some ways its a circular path that he is on, like a self fulfilling prophecy.

Chanthalungsy is excellent as the Old Man, playing him as very closed off to people yet clearly opened up to the spiritual world. It is a great juxtaposition, adding further depth to the character. When the Old Man’s motives become clearer you still feel something for his plight despite it being all of his own selfish design.

Mattie Do has created a thoughtful and intricate Lao genre mashup, something that has meaning and a voice behind it.

The Long Walk is available on digital now

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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