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Movie Review: The Quiet American

Story: Remember that other war? The Vietnam War? This story takes place in 1955 and reeducates us about the end of the French involvement in that war torn country and the beginning of our American involvement. It is a combination history - and love story as seen through the eyes (and narration) of a British journalist who is living in Vietnam.

As a journalist his goal is to stay neutral but as the politics and ravages of war get more brutal he finds that a difficult road to follow. An American (the quiet one) enters the scene under the cover of being on a medical crusade but his real purpose is soon exposed.

Love, intrigue, politics, war and history combine to make this film a winner. The politics of this film is also interesting. It was supposed to be released in September of 2001, but was pulled off the release shelf because of its unvarnished portrayal about our involvement in Vietnam. The timing of our post 9/11 politics would probably not have made for a very good box office. Michael Caine used his clout to get it released this year and I urge you to see it. It is a powerful film. Kudos to director Philip Noyce for staying true to the Graham Greene novel.

Acting: Michael Caine was absolutely fabulous. He just keeps getting better and better. Hs acting was understated and right on the money. It would be worth seeing this film just for the sheer enjoyment of this performance. Brendan Fraser was also terrific as the American operative. He has a sincerity about him that works perfectly in this part he has to play as an undercover agent. I wish he would stop making all of the stupid films he appears in and concentrate on films like this one.

Critters: One shar-pei named Duke.

Food: I would have thought there would be more food. But alas there was none. Lots of booze, though.

Visual Art: It was a dark film (in many ways), therefore, hard to see what was on the walls. I spotted some small lovely French Impressionist type landscapes.

Blatant Product Placement: None (although this does nothing to raise the esteem of the CIA)

Soundtrack: Works well.

Opening Titles: Moody and appropriate.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded with a decidedly older crowd.

Predictability Level: Historical in nature - so there are not many big surprises.

Oscar Worthy: Yes. I would nominate Michael Caine for another Best Actor Award and also give a nod to Brendan Fraser as best Supporting Actor (yes, I like him a lot).

Nit Picking: I wasn't really sure why both of the leading men were so enthralled by this one Vietnamese woman with whom they were both in love. She did not seem as terrific to me as she did to the both of them. Oh well - what do I know?

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure. Here are some of my favorite Michael Caine films for you to rent: Last Orders, The Cider House Rules, Little Voice, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hannah And Her Sisters, Educating Rita, Deathtrap, Dressed to Kill, The Man Who Would Be King, Sleuth, Alfie, The Wrong Box, The Ipcress File, Zulu.

Length: 100 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 8