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

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.