The Quiet American
Based on the novel by Graham Greene, this murder mystery centers on a love triangle set against the French Indochina War in 1952 Vietnam -- a world suffused with opium, intrigue and betrayal. A British reporter, Fowler (Michael Caine, in an Oscar-nominated performance), falls in love with a young Vietnamese woman, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), and is dismayed when an American (Brendan Fraser) also begins vying for her attention.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

This is one of the most exceedingly well-made films of the year, a classy achievement made for a mature audience. I’ve not read Greene’s novel, but I know of its sad prophecy of war, which the film bears out with an epilogue of newspaper headlines detailing further American involvement. It’s a good reminder in this day and age that good foreign-policy intentions often yield disastrous results. Michael Caine is remarkable in the lead role, communicating his desperate needs and his subtle transformation so honestly. The only flaw was that it didn’t move me; like Phuong, I emotionlessly awaited the victor.

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