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The Betrayal - Nerakhoon (2008)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

71

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 345

My Rating

Movie Info

In this documentary, filmmaker Thavisouk Phrasavath details the painful story of how he and his family faced hardship and poverty as Laotian refugees during the Vietnam War. Combining interviews and archival footage, Phrasavath explores not only the experience of betrayal that his family endured when they were forced to flee their homeland, but the larger scheme of geopolitics that put the events into play. ~ Cammila Collar, Rovi

Sep 1, 2009

The Cinema Guild

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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

Self-consciously poetic and shot within a luscious inch of its life, the film's also an engrossing heartbreaker: a family saga that spans continents, political administrations, and decades of travail to arrive at a harder, wiser place.

April 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) is a remarkable achievement, haunting the viewer long after it ends.

March 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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The touching music (which includes quasi-choral chants) completes a film that, despite its tough subject matter, is life-affirming in the best possible way.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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[Betrayal's] saga, told with soul-stirring specificity, is also in a sense the history of 20th century bloodshed and dislocation, hauntingly anticipated in 5,000-year-old Lao prophecies.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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The filmmakers have created a shimmering, absorbing experience that's both specific and general, both concrete and abstract.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
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The Betrayal is a potent mix of archival footage, talking heads and visually arresting montages.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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The film's searing emotionalism is enhanced by lovely camerawork and a magnificent violin score.

May 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

The Betrayal puts a human face and name on the term collateral damage and expands its definition in the process.

April 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

...meditative images from renowned cinematographer Kuras skillfully mixed with archival footage, stills and talking heads by editor Thavi into a story with so many shocks and ironies that it resonates in waves after the telling.

March 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Succeeds on every level. Kuras cares not only about the story itself, which is monumental, but about the form it takes, which is a thing of beauty.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

A doc that wears its viewpoint on its sleeve -- but a viewpoint worth watching

January 20, 2009 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

Although slow in its delivery, "Betrayal" delivers a stinging criticism of life in America. When foreigners come here for freedom, they may get more freedom than they wanted.

December 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

"Somewhere within the countless hours of footage shot for the project is a truly stunning movie that sheds light on America's imperialism. Sadly, it's not there on the screen."

December 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

A lyrical prance through a most dreary period in time.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

The filmmakers, plying the easier path of sentimentality, never explore the psychological complexity of the disenfranchisement suffered by the Phrasavaths. Instead, they emphasize the everyday humiliations of poverty%u2014the better to place blame.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Epic story of one man and his war-torn family, across continents, decades, and cultures, with the director remarkably along through 24 tumultuous years.

November 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

A compelling documentary about a son and his mother struggling to keep their souls alive after surviving war in Laos and poverty in America.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Parts look as though taken by actors, until one realizes that these are the same real people over years, heavier or thinner, baby-faced or mature.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Betrayal - Nerakhoon

[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath, "The Betrayal" is a moving documentary, 23 years in the making. Generally, the film is interested in the promise of the United States and how sadly it often goes unfulfilled, especially as it applies to the country and people of Laos, a near-forgotten part of the wars the United States was fighting in Southeast Asia until 1975.(Even though no American combat troops were on the ground in the country, there was still an incredible amount of bombs dropped.) As the larger history lesson is presented in the background illustrated by archival footage(of special note is Kennedy and Nixon both lying), the story of Thavisouk's family is told in the foreground. Thavisouk's father fought with the American supported guerrillas in favor of the royal government and against the Pathet Lao insurgency. When the United States left, the government fell and Thavisouk's father was sent to a reeducation camp while Thavisouk escaped across the Mekong River to relative safety in Thailand. His mother, fearing she was next, escaped but had to leave two of her daughters behind. The family reunited in Thailand before moving on to the United States. After fleeing the violence of war, they now had to face the violence of gangs on the streets of Brooklyn.[/font]
November 24, 2008
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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