Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Year of Living Dangerously

Some movies start out with a deeper meaning or rather to come across as deep and fail miserably. Some strive for big ideas and are mediocre. This is a mediocre tale from awesome director Peter Weir (Mosquito Coast, Master and Commander, Truman Show, Dead Poets Society). Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) is a young journalist on his first real foreign assignment in Indonesia around the same time that whole conflict in Vietnam was starting up. Hamilton is teamed with a freelance camerman Billy Kwan(Linda Hunt playing a dude). Billy has adopted a woman and her son as his own and believes Guy could be the one journalist to blow the lid off the tragedies taking place there. Along the way Guy meets a hottie working in the British Embassy (Sigourney Weaver) and falls in love. Their relationship is compromised when a story comes between them that could not only destroy them, but get Guy killed in the process.

All of this makes The Year of Living Dangerously sound a lot more glamorous and high minded then the resulting film. Weir clearly loves the humanity of the project, but you never really get a true sense of the plight of the people. Only vague moments provide you a small glimpse into the true atrocities going on. Everything else is a young Weir trying to find his filmmaking self. The actors are fine especially Weaver who classes up a somewhat thankless role.

Nothing special here unless you want to see the evolution of Weir as a director. For this is the only reason I gave it a shot in my Netflix queue. Slight thumbs up for the solid talents behind a subpar script.


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