Set entirely in Vietnam, Monsoon follows the travels of Kit (Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians), whose family fled the country for England in the 1970s after the war. There’s so little plot that even a brief synopsis would spoil the film’s few revelations. So, let’s just say that Kit is gay, meets an attractive African American man named Lewis (Parker Sawyers, Southside With You) and is on a quest that involves visiting sites important to his past.
Writer/director Hong Khaou is a skilled filmmaker, which keeps Monsoon visually interesting, but as a writer, he tends toward withholding. There are some lovely set pieces — Kit and an old friend explore a construction site that was once a pond; Kit visits a family who sits in a circle processing lotus blossoms for tea — but dialogue often tends toward the elliptical. Viewers are intended to fill in the blanks as they see fit, which includes extrapolating the meaning of the movie’s finale from inconclusive hints.
It’s easy to say that Monsoon is about one man’s effort to find his place in the world or that it makes an interesting companion film to Da 5 Bloods in exploring the continuing impact of the Vietnam War. But Khaou doesn’t want to limit viewers’ reactions with conclusive plot twists or a dominant point of view. His Monsoon draws you in but leaves you to find your own way out.
Available to stream via grailmoviehouse.com