A ten year old boy, Ahlo, who is believed to bring bad luck, is blamed for a string of disasters. When his family loses their home and are forced to move, Ahlo meets the spirited orphan Kia and her eccentric uncle Purple: an ex-soldier with a purple suit, a rice wine habit and a fetish for James Brown. Struggling to hang on to his fathers trust, Ahlo leads his family, Purple and Kia through a land scarred by war in search of a new home. In a last plea to try and prove he's not cursed Ahlo builds a giant rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.
Laos is a narrow landlocked country which borders Vietnam to the west. In the Vietnam war, the Vietnamese ran their chief supply line through Laos - the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As a result, Laos was heavily bombed by the Americans.
Set not long after the Vietnam War, the Rocket follows a young boy who is seen as bad luck cure due to the circumstances of his birth. With Laos struggling to recover from the aftermath of the war, his family are forced to move around to survive, looking for a home. The boy is blamed for some of this and, alienated, he makes friends with two outsiders.
This is a story about family, redemption, recovery from tragedy. It's excellent. Watch it.
If there was any part of Beasts of the Southern Wild that I loved the most it would be the idea that anything can be made to look exciting and delightful through the eyes of a child. The film worked because it shined a light on the sense of imagination we had lost by growing up and The Rocket reminds us in a very similar way that imagination and dreaming can
The Rocket follows a young boy who travels across Laos with his family and his new friends to try and find a new home after they are faced with problems. However their journey is filled with strife and pain and when they finally reach their destination the boy tries to convince himself that he isn’t cursed by entering himself into a competition to make the titular rocket to try and fight back against the problems and heartbreak he has faced.
The way that children face adversity is unique and while the idea of fighting your problems with the mythical power of a Rocket building competition sounds ridiculous the film forces you to view it through a childs eyes, the eyes that see the world as a place full of wonder and possibilities instead of a world of disappointments, upsets and occasional misery. His journey may be harsh, things that happen cannot be taken back and his life is changed forever but the hope still exists for better.
The film turns a world of darkness into one of light through some beautiful colouring, some expert cinematography and a central performance that is unabashedly enthusiastic and hopeful that you can’t help but be sucked into it and enjoy the ride you are thrust upon. The film never once lets you think that life can collapse around you and while it's unrealistic it makes for a delightful story and experience I would happily suggest you watch.