The Killing Fields Reviews
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.
Saw this on 6/5/16
The thrilling BGM always ensures that the viewer is glued to the screen and in its first half, it tells the shocking realism of war with fine cinematography and set pieces. In the second half, its about survival. The film may not always connect emotionally the way you want it to.