Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Germany/USA/United Kingdom/Australia/France, 2002. Miramax, Intermedia Films, , Saga, IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. 2. Produktions KG, Giai Phong Film Studio. Screenplay by Christopher Hampton, Robert Schenkkan, based on the novel by Graham Greene. Cinematography by Christopher Doyle. Produced by Staffan Ahrenberg, Matthias Deyle, William Horberg. Music by Craig Armstrong. Production Design by Roger Ford. Costume Design by Norma Moriceau. Film Editing by John Scott. Academy Awards 2002. American Film Institute Awards 2002. Golden Globe Awards 2002. National Board of Review Awards 2002. National Society of Film Critics Awards 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Michael Caine plays a British journalist living in pre-war Vietnam as a correspondent for the Times. He has a pretty happy existence, reporting on civil strife and keeping a beautiful young woman (Do Thi Hai Yen) as a mistress while his wife stays living at home in England. Along comes an American doctor (Brendan Fraser) whose arrival seems to signal all kinds of disaster: first he tries to take Caine’s woman away from him, then he gets himself involved in fighting the Communist enemy. Phillip Noyce’s latest film is atmospheric, impeccably shot and brilliantly acted (particularly a fascinating Caine), but the script, based on the novel by Graham Greene, is flat and the story has no momentum. Its most memorable aspect is its open criticism of America’s involvement in a war that, according to this film, they actually started, but a controversial theme does not a great movie make.