Sunday, December 10, 2006

THE QUIET AMERICAN


This week's movie:
THE QUIET AMERICAN

In the mid fifties, Vietnam was an interesting place. The French were pulling out, leaving a power vacuum. The landscape was littered with news people, journalists, writers, political strategists, businessmen, military personnel, and those with good intentions and those with no good intentions at all. The nation was on the brink of change and a lot of people had their own ideas about what it should change to.

THE QUIET AMERICAN is a wonderful movie, full of political intrigue, plot twists, and a torrid love triangle. The love triangle is indeed the main focus of the film. Michael Caine is an aging journalist, stationed in Saigon. He keeps a beautiful young local woman as a mistress, and he’s very happy. As long as he sends home an occasional article, he can stay in his idyllic little haven. Then along comes Brendan Frasier, a naïve public service American volunteer (the quiet American). The two become very close friends until Frasier and the woman come together, endangering the older man’s perfect world. How far will he go to hold on to it?

Nothing is as it seems.

Check out this movie. Michael Caine was nominated for an Oscar for this role. The story doesn’t dwell so much on war or politics, but focuses instead on the two main characters who are simultaneously friends and rivals. This is an unusual role for Brendan Frasier. He’s normally found in comedies and action comedies. This film is not a comedy. He really shines in a film like this with a good script.

It's interesting that the release of this movie was delayed. Due to hit the theaters late 2001, it was held off more than a year after 9/11 because of its suggestion that maybe the U.S. did some particularly bad things in Vietnam - and was considered "unpatriotic". As it was, it didn't get the wide release it deserved.

Do it. Rent THE QUIET AMERICANthis week, and enjoy.

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