Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: R for violence, adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Michael Caine gives an Oscar-worthy (and Oscar nominated) performance in this steely adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic 1955 novel of political, sexual, and cultural treachery.
searing images of pre-war 1952
This thorny love triangle is fraught with bitter emotion. Fowler has an English wife back home who won’t divorce him, and Phuong’s eldest sister sees Phuong as a rare prize worthy of only the most eligible suitor (Pyle, in this case). Fowler wants nothing more than to be to “essential” to Phuong, and his desperation under the circumstances is dramatically palpable.
competitive passions rage, Fowler and Pyle jockey for political one-upmanship
in a tempestuous Southeast Asian atmosphere teeming with uneasy tension. The mild-mannered Pyle manages to ooze Ugly
American by virtue of his confident convictions and our prescient knowledge of future
American foreign policy. The film is subtly critical of a
narration gives voice to aforementioned sinister political undertones and
blossoming character arcs. Director Philip Noyce (“Rabbit-Proof Fence”) has
crafted a taut, spare picture that captures all of the hurt, betrayal and moral
ambiguity of the times, swaddled in the elegance of French-controlled