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The Quiet American

September 6, 2010

The Quiet American (2002)
Director: Phillip Noyce
Actors: Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen

Synopsis: A jaded British ex-pat journalist (Michael Caine) in Vietnam, grows increasingly suspicious of the presence of a young American (Brendan Fraser) both in his life and in Vietnam as a whole.

Review: This is a quietly assured and commendable film which refuses to buckle under its potentially odious metaphoric weight. It doesn’t try to dazzle or impress the viewer with its dramatic subtext: in fact, Brendan Fraser’s character is only too happy to voice the representational construct of the love-triangle near the film’s climax. Instead, the film plays out in a pleasingly unpatronising, autumnal tone, full of Greenean cynicism that achieves a worthy on-screen persona in Michael Caine’s convincing incarnation of a jaded British expat journalist. Equally exceptional is Christopher Doyle’s elegant, fluid cinematography which echoes his best work in the oeuvre of Wong Kar Wai, and conjures an intriguingly wistful and melancholic detachment to nicely contrast the narrative’s escalating political hysteria. (April 2007)

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