The Killing Fields Reviews
Of course the Vietnam conflict has been filmed several times however the impact on neighbouring Cambodia not so much.
I am not going to give a history lesson or preach about the involvement of a Western country in international conflicts but this film does provide an insight into this shameful episode.
The film concerns the journalistic exploits of New York Times hack Sydney Schanberg in Cambodia.
Schanberg works alongside interpreter Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar).
He is left behind when western citizens are evacuated.
As the film progresses Pran becomes a prisoner in captivity in fields full of rotting corpses.
Schanberg tries to use his influence back in New York to raise the profile of Pran's situation and indeed that of Cambodia.
The film progresses until for Pran there is an escape. Sadly no escape for millions of his countrymen.
The film sadly opened my eyes to a shameful period in Cambodia and perhaps how it mirrors other events?
The soundtrack by Mike Oldfield has some tubular bells and bit of McCartney then Lennon.
Set against the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s, the true story of New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg (played by Sam Waterston) and his Cambodian interpreter Dith Pran (Haing S Ngor). They are there in 1973 when Cambodia is a side-theatre of the Vietnam conflict. At this time the Khmer Rouge are on the rise but not a major threat. Then we jump forward to 1975 and the Khmer Rouge have the upper hand and are about to take control of the country. The US, and other countries, are evacuating personnel. Though both of them have an opportunity to leave too, Schanberg and Dith Pran decide to stay to cover what happens next. This will ultimately put Dith Pran's life in grave danger as the Khmer Rouge's reign over Cambodia was one of oppression and genocide.
Interesting, though a bit dry. The movie starts very slowly and takes a very long time to find a second gear. Even when things do start to fall into place and you get to understand where the story is going, things still don't really move at more than a moderate pace.
However, the last 40 minutes or so more than make up for this. We see the extent of the Khmer Rouge's oppression and atrocities, and the movie becomes a powerful, tense story of resourcefulness and survival. Great, emotional ending.
Solid work by Sam Waterston as Sydney Schanberg. Haing S Ngor, a Cambodian doctor and refugee with no previous acting experience, gives a great performance as Dith Pran and well deserved his Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
The cast also includes John Malkovich (in only his second feature film), Julian Sands (third feature film) and Craig T Nelson, all of which give fine performances.