Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Bill Pullman, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jacqueline Kim, Daniel Lapaine.
Synopsis: Two women are arrested for smuggling while vacationing in Thailand.
Review: So Darlene Davis ( Kate Beckinsale ) and Alice Marano ( Claire Danes ) are party animals who want freedom, so they both decide to go to Thailand to celebrate their high school graduation. So they both fly of over to Thailand. On their trip Darlene and Alice meet a young and handsome Australian guy going by the alias ‘Nick Parks’ who wants the girls to go to Hong Kong with him. Unfortunately for the girls, he is a drug smuggler and his friendliness was nothing more than social engineering in order to con them into smuggling drug into China without their knowledge.
The film focuses in the idea of ‘Quality of Character’. These two characters Darlene and Alice have been very disrespectful to the Thai people by engaging in small but nefarious actions. Their crimes are small but they do add up and haunt them after awhile. Being a good and respectful person would have definitely helped their situation way earlier in the story. Being honest would have actually saved them from a very long prison sentence. Unfortunately for the two, they have to live and learn. Action reaction, cause and effect. The Thai officials look at the girls past behavior in Thailand and come to a conclusion about their character. Their behavior then dictates the judgment in which the girls will receive. This is a recurring theme all throughout the movie. Like the idea of Karma. Alice says in the film that freedom is an illusion. There is one scene where Kate Beckinsale’s character buys and frees a bird as part of a custom of Thai culture but later revels that the birds are trained to fly back to their cages as a way of making money off of western ignorance. The movie is trying to be deeper than it really is. That kind of philosophy belongs in a film like The Matrix (1999) more than this movie. This movie is about two not so smart girls making bad decisions one after another and trying to redeem themselves, all the while learning more about the ways of the world and the people in it.
Yes, another film where Kate Beckinsale is lock up just like in the movie Nothing but the truth (2008). So as you can tell, this is a women in prison movie ( WIP ). Pain and suffering is of course a common theme with these films. As usual Kate Beckinsale gives a superb performance. The pain on her face is too real. I love how some of these characters are introduced in this movies like Hank Greene ( Bill Pullman ), he listens to a recording of the opening narration of the film. After act one his story arc starts. Its interesting how the creators of this movie make him apart of the movie from the beginning but as a silent observer just like the audience. Some of the time Hank is like the moral compass of the audience and some of the time he speaks about how the Thai people see quality of character and how that effects the girls case. Hank is clever but is he really clever enough to helps these two young ladies?
A very interesting film. The cinematography is good. There is proper use of wide shots. The coloring is good for its time. The musical score is actually well done. The set dressing is great, you get pulled into the characters environment. Most of the time there is great lighting. Some of the indoor shots are not so good with the lighting while other shots are better with the more organic sunlight of Thailand. The natural beauty of the set stands out the most. The movie pushes the narrative foreword, staying true to the plot. All of the characters have a unique perspective about the situation the girls are in. Some of the characters feel that the girls are getting what they deserve and some feel sorry for the girls. The creators of this movie do their job well at telling a story and making sure that the characters serve the plot and not the other way around. So bottom line is the film is a good watch.
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