Beyond Rangoon

"OK"

Beyond Rangoon Review


Beyond Rangoon is absolutely typical of the way Hollywood can take a compelling story, full of genuine characters and heartfelt emotion, then hack it to tiny bits and put it back together, Frankenstein-like, into a sappy, overwrought drama that is without a soul and without a point.

The story is "based on actual events." Patricia Arquette plays Laura, an American doctor trying to find peace after the brutal murder of her husband and son. With her sister (Frances McDormand), they embark on a tour of the exotic East, including a peaceful stopover in Burma, a war-torn country ruled by military dictatorship (As they say, "In Burma, everything is illegal."). Laura's passport is lifted, and she finds herself trapped in the capital city of Rangoon, while her sister and their tour group head off to Bangkok. The Burmese pick that time to revolt, and Laura finds herself caught up in a civil war, which basically amounts to dodging bullets in the jungle while covered in mud.

Laura may have a medical degree, but she's also got the common sense of a stick. Any sensible person would have avoided this situation altogether. When she can't sleep...she heads down to check out how the local revolutionary rally is going, violating curfew. When she loses her passport and martial law is declared...she decides to leave Rangoon and sightsee in the country--to hell with the law! When her tour guide (U Aung Ko) doubts they can get back to the city in time...she responds, "Let's risk it!" In the end, she gets what she deserves. After all, she went to Burma didn't she?

It's hard to feel sorry for someone that acts so stupid, so often. And despite the constant threat of capture by the enemy, Beyond Rangoon is actually pretty boring. Director John Boorman is much more concerned with Laura's brooding over her dead son than with anything else. Of course, this is all part of the film's master plan: Toy with the viewers' emotions to the point that they can't feel anything but horror when seeing the terrible crimes of the Burmese. If Laura wasn't such an idiot, that might have worked.

Another disappointment is the wholesale ripping off of The Killing Fields, the Academy Award-winning film about a Cambodian refugee trying to escape the Khmer Rouge during the Vietnam War. The Killing Fields is one of the best "on the run" pictures ever made, and Beyond Rangoon borrows heavily from it, even to the extent of casting Spalding Gray in a minor role. Unfortunately, Beyond Rangoon borrows bits and pieces, and can't replicate the film's spirit.

Beyond Rangoon gets some points for at least having a noble premise, which is a pleasant change from typical Hollywood fare. U Aung Ko's tour guide/revolutionary is very engaging, too, and almost makes the picture worthwhile. One thing still bugs me, though, and it's got nothing to do with the sappy plot and hokey ending. I keep wondering, just how much numbingly repetitious, fluty woodwind music can one person stand, and where was Zanfir hiding during the takes?



Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th August 1995

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Laura Bowman, as Andy Bowman, as U Aung Ko, as Jeremy Watt, Tiara Jacquelina as San San, Hotel Desk Clerk, Ann Howard as Australian Doctor, as Mr. Scott, Ye Myint as Zaw Win, Cho Cho Myint as Zabai, Michael Pickells as Nick Bowman, Enzo Rossi as Danny Bowman, Kuswadinath Bujang as Colonel, Johnny Cheah as Min Han, M.Rajoli as Karen Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.