Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hey! Get a room, guys!

Awright, let's try to get another review out of my dreams and into my car. Which brings us to 1984's The Killing Fields. Now, if you're anything like me, you've pretty much forgotten anything before Windows 95. For some it may be HDTV or your cellphone, but it's always sort of refreshing to watch one of these old movies... okay, fairly recent movies about events within ten to twenty years of its making. Okay? And 1984 was a good year for John Malkovich, appearing in True West and two Best Picture nominees! Isn't that wild?
The Killing Fields was nominated for seven Oscars and won three: cinematography, editing and Haing S. Ngor. I could have sworn the production design would've been nominated. That's two thirds of the budget right there! Oh well. Can't win 'em all. The music not getting nominated, not a surprise. But it must've been a profound experience overall, even for the supporting players. And given director Roland Joffe's resumé, this is clearly his master work. Goodbye Lover, not so much.
But if you're like me, and you see the world in terms of buddy pictures, like The Big Lebowski and Planes, Tranes and Automobiles, this is a buddy drama about Sydney Schanberg and Dith Pran in Vietnam-era Cambodia. Now I'm sure all the hipsters over at The Village Voice and The Onion would tell these two to get a room, but isn't that beside the point? Okay, maybe not. Oh, I wouldn't be doing my job as a film critic if I didn't say that Sam Waterston plays Schanberg as a man on the move, moving at the same fast New York City pace, whether he's walking around Cambodia trying to get a story, or walking up to accept his 1976 AIFPC Award.
There's not really much more to say than that. This is as real as it gets. You'll probably see it in Middle School history class, but it's a four star movie you should watch. Not too often, though, otherwise you lose the impact.

good double bill with: Cry Freedom

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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