“180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us” First Impressions (Ep.1 & 2)

I’m not going to say this anywhere in this review that “180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us” is a tour de force cinematically charged experience.

It’s a slow-moving storm that is sure to destroy everything except for the trio characters existing in the wake of a man’s death. These three lives exist on the edge, even though their proximity is very close. A widow and her adult son find themselves coincidentally staying with the mother’s friend, who knew both her and her husband during their college days. From the beginning, the son narrates the story, and it’s quite evident that he isn’t a reliable narrator. His words are tainted by his emotions, offering judgements where they aren’t needed or superimposed on a person who can’t speak for himself. It’s up to you as the viewer to discern who is actually telling the truth.

Wang (Pond Ponlawit) doesn’t lie intentionally, he just doesn’t understand the father he mourns. His father, Siam, died years before the series unfold when Wang was still a child. So his view of his father is incomplete mostly, coming from the words of others. Example: Siam is an alcoholic, Reality: Siam didn’t start drinking until after he loses contact with his college buddy In (Nike Nitidon). This implicitly tells the viewer two things : One, his perception of his father’s addiction is exaggerated. Two, his father felt the loss of In’s presence in his life so profoundly he drank himself to death. This version of storytelling makes the show interesting and worthy of a rewatch when you gleam over this information.

Shot gorgeously, the show feels more like a big-budget movie as every scene is executed with an attention to detail. The sprawling soundtrack of the OST that accompanies the beautiful scenery is truly complimentary; it could be the opulent home of the mother, Sasiwimol/Mol (Mam Kathaleeya), an award winning, Lakorn screenwriter and director, or the trip out of Bangkok City with Wang to scout locales for her next drama. All these scenes have this understated, beautiful soundtrack that guides you to feel the way the show intends you to feel for that moment.

When the pair travel to the mountains, Wang takes over driving and gets their car stuck in a muddy bit of forest. Now this strikes me as suspicious though it’s not relevant to this review so I’m just going to say (I think he planned it), because he walks directly to the spot where In is building a connecting bridge for the villagers to help them get to the main road. He tells In the exact location of where his car is stuck by distance (how would he know that without instruments??). Soon the pair brings the mother back to the mansion In has secluded himself in.

His house is an architectural dream built of glass and wood with amazing art and I wish I could live there. ANYWAY, the acting by Nike is on point as he is on the one hand overjoyed to see his old friend again and also wary of what her presence Will do to his peace. The episode concludes with the men staring at each other for too long and all the innuendo conveyed through their dialogues tells you so much more than the actual words.

Episode two continues with their conversation with no interruption, which betrays the feel that this connecting interlude was rather an intermission in a movie than the start of a new episode. While the first episode deals with introducing the three characters and their variant personalities, the second episode is mostly about the meteroite size hole Siam left in their lives. Mol particularly seems affected by In’s presence for reasons we don’t know but she seems intent on discerning his sexual history. Her son seems a but embarrassed by her line of questioning but at the same time he joins in for reasons unknown.

The adept usage of the sprawling mansion and its different rooms set the tone for the second episode; it genuinely feels like you are watching a play. You watch the trio question In about his life over dinner while Mol gets more and more drunk. Her double entendres make him uncomfortable, yet he allows it watching her reactions while occasionally glancing at Wang. Mol notices their exchange and drops the conversation, but the damage is done. The two flirt with one another covertly in a polite way that can be taken as simple conversation if they weren’t creating enough sexual tension that could be cut with a knife!

Since the second episode involves a lot of talking, if you aren’t invested in the lives of these three flawed characters, you will be very bored. I have come to love them but did feel a bit tired halfway through from all the dancing around Siam’s death and its causes. So much of the story in this show is the conflict and the fact that no one is being entirely honest; which would be great if they didn’t get to the edge of those unspoken truths, leaving us confused. It becomes very frustrating. When Mol and In are talking alone and she explains she knows the reason her husband died but won’t say it; I paused and let out a scream of anger. It’s hard to sit through that happening three times in one episode, but it does.

Seeing In’s silent breakdown as Mol drunkenly vents her emotions at Wang’s belief that she caused Siam’s death was such a powerful moment; something that she missed due to her own grief and being self absorbed. So much of her personality reeks of forcing her opinions on others that it is hard to care that much about her melodrama. A trait she shares with Wang who does the same to In in a different scene.

The series is a kaleidoscope of lust, love and grief that will keep you captivated.

Rating- 4 out of 5

Krishna’s Sidenote-

☆ Because we love to flame the fumes and Pond Pondlawit is undeniably handsome!

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