14 Days (14 Ngày Phép)
14 DAYS is the story of a naïve Vietnamese-American man on vacation for two life-changing weeks in the country he left as a child. What unfolds is an unexpected, endearing love story that takes place when Dung (Trinh Hoi) arrives in Vietnam from the United States, broken down following a devastating break-up with his girlfriend.
As is sometimes true with men behaving badly on vacation, Dung is strongly encouraged by his obnoxious local friend, tour guide, and wingman, Lam (Thai Hoa, De Mai Tinh), to exploit the women they encounter in Saigon. Instead of taking advantage of the women that are brought to him by Lam and bowing to peer pressure, Dung tries to do the right thing by avoiding to take part in the “festivities” that Lam has planned. Initially, Dung’s overall lack of confidence and inability to stand up for himself force him into a few uncomfortable situations.
These circumstances eventually lead to his gradual yet striking transformation after a chance encounter with Thao, who steals his heart. Through their brief moments together, Dung trades chaos for calm and experiences a more romantic and touching side of Vietnam. The difficult life story and interaction with Thao allows Dung to realize the importance of love, tolerance, and the need to help others.
Herein lies the warmth and charm of the film’s premise: Just when you think you are watching a handsome Vietnamese-American man bask in his post-break-up-revenge, you’re in for a pleasant ride as director Khoa Trong Nguyen offers an alternative perspective to a side of Vietnam we may never see again on the big screen.
By Kenneth Nguyen