Friday, November 2, 2012


Philip Noyce made "The quiet American" and later it was deferred to be released due to 9/11, but soon Miramax president Harvey Weinstein decided that the national mood was not ripe for a film pointing out that the United States is guilty of terrorist acts of its own. It was a mistake they soon found out, when the film premiered in Toronto Film festival and was got rave reviews, people loved that film.

More than showing Vietnam's degeneration towards war due to the direct mishandling of CIA operatives working inside the country to defame the Communist segment, it is a true testament how a country is shoved into violence by US and ultimately innocent citizens
always are at the receiving end. Based on Graham Greene's novel, this film takes a deeper look into the triangle love story brewing up between Brandan fraser (Alden Pyle who plays the quiet American), Micheal Caine (the British Reporter) and Do Hai Yen (Phuong, the young Caine's mistress).

Fowler tells us; his own face is a map of both. "I'm just a reporter," he says. "I offer no point of view, I take no action, I don't get involved." Indeed, he has scarcely filed a story in the past year for his paper, the Times of London; he is too absorbed in Phuong, and opium.

Pyle comes across initially like an idealist American, who wants to rescue Phoung out of the clutches of Fowler, the ageing gentlemen, who can never marry Phuong as his wife will never divorce him. But soon enough as the plot thickens, we start seeing the other shades of Pyle's character and Fowler and the viewers soon unearthed Pyle is a CIA operative and directly involved terrorist attacks on citizens. We quickly take sides and preempt the horrifying end for Pyle.

It would be unfortunate if people went to the movie, or stayed away, because of its political beliefs. There is no longer much controversy about the CIA's hand in stirring the Vietnam pot, and the movie is not an expose but another of Greene's stories about a worn-down, morally exhausted man clinging to shreds of hope in a world whose cynicism has long since rendered him obsolete. Both men "love" Phuong, but for Pyle she is less crucial. Fowler, on the other hand, admits: "I know I'm not essential to Phuong, but if I were to lose her, for me that would be the beginning of death." What Phuong herself thinks is not the point with either man, since they are both convinced her wants them?

The locations is beautiful, the music, mise-en-scene' all works together to create a strange kind of laid back attitude which is the hallmark of Fowler's character in the film. He is someone, who doesn't get involved, and watches the degeneration of the country from the sidelines. Only after he loses Phuong, he decides to take action and makes his contribution to the plot.

A good watch at the times we live in.

My Rating: 7/10

Story Plot:
It's 1952 Saigon, and British journalist Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine) is about to find his comfortable life upset by the arrival of a fresh-faced, self-effacing American medical aid worker. Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) at first seems to be nothing more than an idealistic young doctor, but his activities cause Thomas to wonder whether he has an alternate agenda. Meanwhile, Alden falls for Thomas' beautiful young Vietnamese mistress, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen). Because Alden is unattached, while Thomas is married to a woman in London who will not give him a divorce, Alden can offer Phuong one thing that Thomas cannot: a wedding ring.

Cast: Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen
Director: Phillip Noyce
Producers: Staffan Ahrenberg, William Horberg
Screenplay: Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan, based on the novel by Graham Greene
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Music: Craig Armstrong


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