The Quiet American (2002)

The Quiet American (2002)

An effortless adaptation of the challenging romantic political drama

7.2

Movie

France, Germany
English, French, Vietnamese
Drama, Romance, Thriller, War
2002
PHILLIP NOYCE
Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen, Ferdinand Hoang
101 min

TLDR

AITA for getting in between my younger white friend and my Asian mistress, even though I can’t divorce my wife?

What it's about

Vietnam, 1952. Veteran English journalist Thomas Fowler has fallen in love with his beautiful Vietnamese mistress Phuong, though his friendship with the amiable American doctor Alden Pyle threatens this love, and makes him question his neutral stance towards the events he reports on.

The take

Being released just a year after 9/11, we weren’t expecting The Quiet American to be critical about America’s intervention in the Vietnam War– the original novel was criticized by the country in its initial release, and the previous 1958 film adaptation revamped the entire story for an anti-communist message. Still, while the film could have expanded on Phuong’s perspective, The Quiet American is well made and surprisingly faithful to the book– willing to delve into author Graham Greene’s cautionary tale on exceptionalism and acknowledging how his prediction has happened in reality, all easily understood through the simple, yet effective metaphor of a love triangle.

What stands out

The leads. Michael Caine was nominated for a BAFTA, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe for this role, but viewers may be surprised at Brendan Fraser’s performance, years before his critically acclaimed role in The Whale.

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