.

Beyond Rangoon

Patricia Arquette, Frances McDormand

Directed by John Boorman
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
August 25, 1995

Patricia Arquette Is an actress of such promise (True Romance, cable TV's Wildflower) that you anticipate a career peak from her teaming with director John Boorman (Deliverance, Hope and Glory). Think again. Arquette is disappointingly one-dimensional as Laura Bowman, an American doctor who finds her husband and son murdered and flees her home and job to forget. In 1988, Laura travels with her sister (Frances McDormand) to Burma, where she is untouched by the country's lush beauty or its violent military regime. Only when she witnesses a pacifist rally — Aung San Suu Kyi (Adela Lutz), a real-life freedom leader, walks calmly past trigger-happy guards to talk to her people — does Laura gather the strength to see beyond herself.

You can see where Boorman is going with the script he wrote with Bill Rubenstein and Alex Lasker. Through exposure to the suffering of another country, Laura will take positive action and find her own redemption. It sounds virtuous, and it is. Worse, "Beyond Rangoon" is yet one more film — "The Killing Fields" and "Cry Freedom" are others — that defines Third World political unrest through its effect on a white liberal. Boorman skimps on the issues that divide and devastate the people of Burma to concentrate on Laura's attempted escape to Thailand with the help of a native guide (U Aung Ko) when, oh, gosh, she misplaces her passport and becomes one of the persecuted herself.

Filming in Malaysia with camera ace John Seale (Witness), Boorman catches the look and feel of a country under siege and directs scenes of shattering tension. Still, suspense seems a poor substitute for getting inside a country's soul. Burma (now called Myanmar) remains a police state; frustratingly, Boorman and Arquette remain outside looking in.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “San Francisco Mabel Joy”

    Mickey Newbury | 1969

    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com