The Pool wastes no time showing its central conflict. A young man named Day (Theeradej Wongpuapan) is trapped in a drained pool. He is injured and has to fight off a hungry crocodile. But what happened? The story is a single location monster movie from Thailand that shows how less can be more. With its small cast (basically two humans and two animals) and direct storytelling, the film is hyper focused. The plot flashes back a week to explain itself.
No moment in the movie is wasted. The audience already knows where the story is headed. It is just a matter of how it gets there. The Pool does a magnificent job of putting the puzzle together. This leads to plenty of ridiculously tense moments. Each time Day is on the verge of being rescued, it becomes a question of why won’t he. It is the rare occasion of the audience knowing exactly what is going to happen but still being engaged.
The silliness of The Pool works in its favor. This is seen most in Day’s many interactions with the crocodile. How the beast got into the situation is funny in and of itself. It also makes complete sense in the realm of the story. Director Ping Lumpraploeng of making sure the movie never gets repetitive. The Pool has one consistent theme: how Day will not escape the pool. The film’s twists and turns manage to stay fresh and keep the audience engaged.
The Pool also has some subtext to it. Day’s girlfriend Koi is pregnant. Day is unsure about becoming a father. Over the course of the week he is trapped in the pool, he starts to learn what it is to be a father. The development in Day is subtle. The Pool is more concerned with being an over the top action thriller. Character arcs are not necessary or even wanted. But watching Day protect Koi and her dog Lucky show his selflessness. (There is also a scene involving eggs that plays into the unborn babies subplot.)
The Pool never allows itself to get too serious, however. Aside from a noticeable part in the middle, the movie has great pacing. There is a sense of urgency that permeates the plot. A silly premise coupled with a serious delivery is a very thin line to walk. Go too far in either direction and the movie becomes more confusing than anything. The Pool manages to pull it off in story that mixes the absurd and earnest perfectly.
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