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The Quiet American back to product details

Love, betrayal, and terror in the name of democracy
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written by SBarnett September 25, 2006 - 9:50 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
It's not easy to make a great film from a great novel, but Phillip Noyce makes a worthy effort in "The Quiet American." The material Noyce chooses to work with--Graham Greene's classic novel about a man's struggle to find love and meaning in 1950s Indochina amid the collapse of colonialism and rise of the United States as the global evangelist of capitalist democracy--is rich and evocative, and he handles it faithfully (unlike Joseph Manckiewicz's 1958 propaganda film that stood the premise of the novel on its head). The role of Fowler seems to be written for Michael Caine, with his gravelly voice, ravaged face, stooped yet solid shoulders, and clear-eyed vision of the world based on reality as opposed to one based on faith. Beside him, the other Anglo-American actors seem like extras. Do Thi Hai Yen brings Phuong, Fowler's Annamite lover, seductively to life. There are many fine scenes in this film, the best involving Fowler and the French Inspector Vigot (the popular Croatian actor Rade Sherbedgia), two men who perfectly understand each other and the world they find themselves in. Yet a single false note can spoil things: early on, when Phuong disrobes, we see her from behind, across the room, and when her final piece of clothing falls away we hear a cascade of music from Vietnamese strings--as if her simple act needs spicing up to make it beautiful. Still, the message of the film and novel is as important today as it was in the Eisenhower administration, before Tonkin Gulf was used to make war not only on communism abroad but on freedom here at home. Graham Greene's novel gives a great deal more than does this film.

Creepy sinophile weirdness
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written by dojothemouse January 27, 2005 - 4:16 PM PST
1 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Whether or not this is a good movie is kindof beyond me. I couldn't tell. Parts of it seemed a little boring, and the whole "foreign correspondent" schtick was fun but cliched. The only reason that I could possibly recommend it is if you would like to try to unravel the totally bizarre cultural thesis of the movie, that Europe and the USA were two creepy sinophiles to Vietnam's cute little Asian girl. There are scenes in the movie dedicated to eroticizing Do Thi Hai Yen's straight black hair. Dunno how anyone could watch this as a romance and take it seriously.

Allegorical romance political thriller?!
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written by Neutron November 17, 2003 - 10:55 AM PST
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Few movies work well on multiple levels, but the Quiet American manages to be a convincing romance drama, and suspenseful political thriller at the same time. I have to say, I was pretty skeptical knowing that Brendan "Encino Man, George of the Jungle" Fraser played one of the leads. But he was convincing and played a multi dimensioned character. Who knew?

This is a good character study of journalism and impartiality as well as a historical record of a somewhat little known time in pre-American war Vietnam. Considering the times that we live in these days and current events being what they are, it's an interesting character study in human nature, have things really changed that much?

The scene of the bombing is absolutely amazing, impeccably shot and really the centerpiece of the whole movie.

Brendan Fraser?
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written by larbeck August 11, 2003 - 4:53 PM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I see the name Brendan Fraser and my body reacts (and it is a non-nice reaction). But in this film, he shines. He actually holds his own with Michael Caine and it is an amazing thing.

And knowing what we know about the tragedy that was the Second Indochina War and the affect is had on our country and the people who lived through, adds to the pathos of this film.

I pray that someone will not be making one about Iraq twenty years from now.

See this film. It is an education.
that was

Perfectly cast
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written by dybevick August 11, 2003 - 9:30 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
If you enjoy watching Michael Caine in general you will enjoy watching him in particular here. It is almost as if the story was written for a character that could only be filled by the amalgamation of everything that he has portrayed from Zulu and Get Carter to Hannah and the Ciderhouse.

Neither does the supporting cast dissapoint. I was very drawn into their characters. Fraser as the Quiet American of the title disarms at first and gives himself way slowly and subtley. Fowler's lover and assistant, also leave lasting impressions, without actually saying all that much.

The story deftly drops a love triangle squarely (ha!) onto an international triangle/tangle of historical proportions and while it touches on plenty of allegorical fodder it leaves only the slightest aftertaste.

I found it interesting to contrast this to something completely different -- Scent of Green Papaya. Both movies celebrate the life/color/sounds of a place like Viet Nam, but while Papaya takes an almost angelic perspective, TQA gets right downin there and explores what the heat and the smell can do to you, not all of which is bad.


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(Average 6.97)
173 Votes
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