the quiet american




This film is truly exceptional. The Quiet American is set in the early 1950's, it is presented as a flashback, centering on the love triangle between the main character Thomas Fowler (Caine), a cynical British journalist who is in love with Vietnam and a Vietnamese woman named Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), and does not want to return to dreary London and his Catholic wife, and Ogden Pyle (Fraser), an American attached to a medical aide mission. The movie opens with Pyle dead, and Fowler narrating, taking us back to the events leading to Pyle's death. The flawed character of Fowler is contrasted by the perfect character of Pyle as he pursues Phuong and tries to win her from Fowler, whilst still remaining friends with Fowler. The war intrudes, and Fowler gradually rediscovers his idealism whilst we are shown the younger Pyle's zeal in his pursuit of his own cause.

The plot was brilliant, the soundtrack evocative, the cinematography stunning, and the acting superb. The film made the audience truly feel what it was to be in setting, with description from Fowler through narration, and the sounds of the streets and the score aiding the stunning visuals admirably.

Sir Michael Caine’s performance was perfect, with the his portrayal of the flawed character of Thomas Fowler deserving of an Oscar nomination at the least. Brendan Fraser’s Ogden Pyle was also impeccable, changing as the viewer learns more, yet remaining the same. Do Thi Hai Yen was superb as Phuong, Fowler’s lover, who feels a mutual attraction with Pyle. The vulnerability, complexity, and grace with which she portrayed the character was admirable.

The film is also timely, with the current threat of war between America and Iraq, and the more general anti-terrorist sentiment in the wake of September 11. The Quiet American reminds us of the consequences of interference in foreign conflicts, and that America is not quite so innocent as it would have the world believe.

 the quiet american
special effects 

blancmange Copyright '02-'03 Chris Schlatter and Mark Stoffels. All Rights Reserved.