American, The (USA/Germany/Australia;
directed by: Phillip Noyce
starring: Michael Caine; Brendan Fraser; Do Thi Hai Yen
"I don’t know… in general, I’d say I liked this one. My main problems
with it were the following two items:
"Fraser’s character was not very believable. I thought that worked well for him, oddly enough, for most of the film, as the audience was clearly supposed to figure out before Caine’s character that this guy was not to be trusted. However, in the scene in which Caine confronts him, he was just terrible.
"The Vietnamese woman was used strictly as a symbol of her country, and that’s pretty trite.
"However, the cinematography was wonderful. The juxtapositions between day and night, particularly in the first cut to a daytime scene around the beginning of the film, really created a feeling of a place that could be many different things. With that in mind, the voiceover indicating that aspect of the place was awfully superfluous. But I do think the DP did a fine job of changing the nature of the space he was shooting."
|Hilary says: "I was far more interested in the style of this
film over the substance, but
then I generally feel that way about any war movie. And what style – gorgeous atmospheric filmmaking! Michael Caine is quite good, but Brendan Fraser is such a frustrating actor. He needs to stop taking every job offered to him so performances such as GODS AND MONSTERS are not completely overshadowed by every MONKEYBONE that comes down the line. I wanted more from Fraser’s character, Alden Pyle. For the titular figure, his role was surprisingly small. Ultimately, I suppose it was the significance of the characters within the socio-historical construct of the story that mattered more than the characters themselves."
|Jane says: "I have to say I totally agree with Marilyn on this one. I really liked Caine's performance, but overall the movie had little emotional effect on me. And I do enjoy Fraser's work for the most part, so I would also tend to fault the director."|
Laura says: "This second adaptation of Graham Greene's
novel (screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan) is a powerfully
simple telling of complex
emotions and politics in a 1952 that finds Vietnam reflected in a woman.
Philip Noyce's (RABBIT-PROOF FENCE) sure-footed
direction, Christopher Doyle's gorgeous widescreen lensing and a career-topping
performance from Michael Caine make THE QUIET AMERICAN one of 2002's best
Review courtersy of Reeling Reviews
|Marilyn says: "THE QUIET AMERICAN was just that....quiet....I became quite bored and I really like Michael Caine....Brendan Fraser is my secret cotton candy...(I admit I loved GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE...better than my grandchildren) but here, he was just flat....I think that I will blame the Director who must have taken the title to heart. I agree, Michael about the visuals...but I didn't believe either man was really in love...Brendan arrived, looked and fell...NOT believable at all. The drugs made Michael Caines character plausible but still....The fact that she was young, pretty and exotic was not enough. This movie got far more attention than it deserved thanks to Michael Caine who admits he went everywhere to promote it bc he really wanted to be nominated and he got it but I think more bc of the respect people have for his career. He could have phoned this one in but again, I agree Michael, he didn't ....but almost."|
| Michael says:
"I am impressed by the one-two punch of Phillip Noyce's 2002 films.
Although I found the dramatic visual storytelling and quiet simplicity of
RABBIT-PROOF FENCE better,
I was quite drawn in by THE QUIET AMERICAN.
"Michael Caine was impressive as the British journalist 'working' in Viet Nam in the late 50's. It's funny, Caine does so many films, and you can really tell when he's coasting through a role, compared to when he's really engaged. THE QUIET AMERICAN is certainly one of the latter. Brendan Fraser was a little outclassed as... well, the quiet American who is working with medical aid and falls in love with Caine's lover. He does quite well for the first 3/4 of the movie, but toward the end there is a change in his character that seems a little stiff. And although her role was rather representative rather than real, Do Thi Hai Yen does a nice job as Phuong, the lovely Vietnamese woman both men love. (Of course, they were all outclassed by the fabulous Pham Thi Mai Hoa, who play's Phuong's vindictive sister!
"Noyce, as demonstrated so well in RABBIT-PROOF FENCE is a terrific storyteller and his talents serve him well in AMERICAN as well. While some of the strokes are broader, he still manages to convey the complicated political times of pre-war Viet Nam elegantly. The visuals are superb and the tension and power of the atrocities governments commit dead on target. The film was ominously relevant to today's political climate as well." 4 cats