Brokedown Palace Reviews
However, it is mostly remembered these days for the comments that Claire Danes made about the Phillipines (Where it was filmed) that got her and her films banned by the Filipino government. The story, while hilarious, sadly overshadows the terrific, underrated drama the interview was discussing. It's a shame, really, because this is a rather interesting and evocative drama that deserved a far better fate.
The film focuses on two lifelong friends: Alice, the troublemaker, and Darlene, the shy good girl of sorts. After graduating from high school, the girls want to go an adventure of some sort, and while Hawaii was originally the choice, Alice convinces Darlene to take a trip to Thailand because it's cheaper and the prospects of traveling to a foreign country seem intriguing.
While they tell their families that they're going to Hawaii, the girls embark on their journey to Thailand, uncertain of what is in store for them.
The girls take some of the usual sight-seeing adventures, but they also get into some mischief by sneaking into a fancy hotel and ordering drinks on someone else's tab. When confronted by hotel staff about what they're doing, a man suddenly intervenes and says that the girls are with him, saving them from security.
The man is a handsome Australian named Nick, who the girls immediately develop a crush on and are eager to hang out with him when given the chance, including sexual encounters - though neither girl knows the other has had sex with him.
Nick then offers the girls a chance to go on a trip to Hong Kong with him as part of his business trips, which Darlene is excited about, while Alice is reluctant to go. After some convincing from Darlene, Alice decides to go along for the trip.
However, while at the airport, the police show up and the two girls are arrested because it turns out their bags contained kilos of heroin, which is terrifying for the girls, not only because they are arrested for something they didn't do, but also the fact that many foreign countries have far harsher penalties for drug charges than the United States - and the girls are looking at decades of prison time.
While the Thai authorities interrogate them, Darlene makes a fatal mistake of giving a statement that is written in Thai by a stenographer...and Darlene cannot read Thai. The written statement instead turns out to be a confession to the crime, further digging the girls into a law pitfall when they are convicted and given a prison sentence of more than 30 years.
Desperate, the girls enlist the help of a lawyer, "Yankee Hank" Greene, an American living in Thailand and specializing in Thai law. He is their only hope for freedom in battling against the corrupt legal system, as their lives fall apart behind the terrifying prison walls and their friendship is tested to its limits.
The story is quite engaging in a number of aspects. As a law and prison drama, it is engaging, and also quite harrowing when it wants to be as two girls are caught in the throes of a corrupt legal system and try to retain a semblance of sanity and hope in their dire circumstances. It also works as a friendship drama because it shows how far friendship can be pushed, but also how it can survive in even the worst of times, which leads to some rather heart-wrenching moments. It manages to be engaging, suspenseful, funny when it wants to be, and emotional as well.
I'm not really familiar with Claire Danes, but I was impressed with her performance as Alice, the troublemaker. While she was a troublemaker, she was also a fun, sympathetic, and wonderful character. She successfully conveyed a wide variety of emotions for whatever scenario she was placed in, and the climax was nothing short of brilliance on her part, leading to the most heart-wrenching moment of the entire film.
It was also interesting to see Kate Beckinsale in one of her earlier film roles before she became semi-famous with the Underworld series. Rather than playing an ass-kicking, super-serious vampire, here she is much more subdued in her performance as the timid, shy, naieve Darlene. Though subdued, her performance was terrific, and she could be rather harrowing when she wanted to be during some rather emotional conflicts between her and Danes' character.
Bill Pullman as "Yankee Hank" was also a very good performance as he played a lawyer who while snide at times, was also sympathetic and rather amusing when he wanted to be.
The film provides a variety of things that will please fans of dramas, which not only provide some rather interesting things for the brain to munch on intellectually, but also on an emotional level. It's engaging, harrowing, and very emotional as it unfolds its storyline intricately. While I wish the story had been fleshed out a little more, the film was never boring and I was riveted by what I watched.
Brokedown Palace is a great, underrated drama, with great underrated performances. It's a real gem to find, and it's a shame that it was a flop with the critics and the box office because it offers so much to anyone who is willing to give it a try. If you enjoy a good drama. Brokedown Palace may offer something you'll enjoy.
Darlene Davis is a good girl who generally only gets in trouble when she hangs out with her spare of the moment best friend, Alice Marano. They head on a vacation to Hawaii when Darlene meets a handsome guy on the beach who talks her into going on vacation with him to Thailand. Alice reluctantly goes only to support her friend, who has stuck her neck out for her plenty of times. When they arrive in Thailand, the police discover drugs on them and throw them into jail. The girls have no idea how the drugs got there, but they are in international hot water!
"We're innocent, so there's nothing to worry about."
Jonathan Kaplan, director of Unlawful Entry, Project X, The Accused, Love Field, Bad Girls, and episodes of ER, Law & Order, and Without a Trace, delivers Brokedown Palace. The storyline did have long lulls and some uneven acting, but the ultimately story and epic conclusion was masterful. The acting was fairly good and the cast includes Clair Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Doe, and Aimee Graham.
"It's a shitty, third world, joke!"
Brokedown Palace is a movie I came across on Starz I believe while randomly flicking through the channels. I had never heard of this film with Danes and Beckinsale and thought it may be mildly entertaining. I actually ended up loving this film and even found myself thinking about it a few days later. I strongly recommend this film and it is borderline worth adding to your DVD collection.
"You didn't sign anything, did you?"
"A pair of na´ve American teens vacationing in Bangkok are unjustly arrested, convicted and sent to prison for 33 years for smuggling heroin in Thailand."
Decent, though not great, performances from Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman and Jacqueline Kim.