The Killing Fields - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Killing Fields Reviews

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½ February 27, 2018
An under appreciated film about one of the darkest points in humanity's history, 'The Killing Fields' follows two characters as they both struggle in the survival of the Cambodian Genocide. This is a film so thick with suspense and tension that you feel the fear that the characters feel.
½ February 23, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
February 8, 2018
Inspired by the true story of Dith Pran and his survival under the Khmer Rouge regime, The Killing Fields is a powerhouse of a film.
January 13, 2018
Excellent movie about the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia and the death of 3 million people.
October 20, 2017
It's a decent movie about an important subject. Some educational value for sure. I can't go whole hog on a rating. Main reason I think is the primary relationship. They kinda tell you that the guys are really close and just expect it to be run with - whereas I would have liked some origin story. That aside, there is just something about it that is not super-high on the rewatchability spectrum. A little meandering I guess. Good not great. 7.1 out of 10
September 17, 2017
1984 film that explores the historical episode of Cambodian politics in the 1970s during the Vietnam War.
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.
June 26, 2017
New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is on assignment covering the Cambodian Civil War, with the help of local interpreter Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor) and American photojournalist Al Rockoff (John Malkovich). When the U.S. Army pulls out amid escalating violence, Schanberg makes exit arrangements for Pran and his family. Pran, however, tells Schanberg he intends to stay in Cambodia to help cover the unfolding story -- a decision he may regret as the Khmer Rouge rebels move in.
½ April 22, 2017
Pretty realistic story-telling of real life history.
½ March 20, 2017
An important movie, historically and politically, but with a main character, Sydney Schanberg , portrayed as an extremely obnoxious, rude, bullying American. Waterson's portrayal of him is so annoying, that I found him unlikeable and almost unwatchable. The movie itself is good, and I was especially a fan of the passport scene! It was also cool to see Waterson, Craig T., and especially John Malkovich looking so young and vital! But they really should have played Schanberg differently, unless, of course, he was really that big of a dick.
January 30, 2017
A powerful and sweeping story about one of the most horrific events in modern history.
½ January 20, 2017
This is a real testament to the power of film. After spending some time in Cambodia, I attempted to watch this movie at the age of 25. Couldn't do it, as it brought back to many memories of being told the stories and seeing the aftermath of the genocide. I finally turned it on at 29 and had one of the most complex reactions to a film I have ever had. A truly special film. Joffe was a genius for creating this and The Mission alone.
January 8, 2017
The the rise horrific regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the mid-late 1970s is told in this moving film about the friendship of journalist Sidney Schanberg and his Cambodian interpreter, Dith Pran. The pair were caught up in the chaos of Phnom Penh as the Americans and then French pulled out of the city and Pran was forced to stay behind and try as best he could to survive the madness of the revolution. There's a real sense of the panic and trauma the population of the country underwent. This is perhaps most vividly shown on the screen as the Khmer soldiers enter the city and force the civilians to evacuate. The movie doesn't flinch from showing some of the atrocities Cambodia endured at the hands of both the US with their bombings and the Khmer militants. The casual shootings and beatings, sometimes by family members, the way in which people were suffocated by having plastic bags put over their heads and the mass graves in which bodies are dumped are all portrayed but in a manner that feels shocking and moving rather than gratuitous. This was an awful and shameful piece of human history which the movie captures well. Sam Waterston, John Malkovich and Julian Sands play the chief Western characters but the movie is held together by Dr. Haing S. Ngor, himself a survivor of the genocide, who really holds the movie together. His portrayal of Sith Pran is extraordinary and he rightly won an Oscar for his role in this magnificent film from director Roland Joffé. An unusual score by Mike Oldfield adds perfectly to the sense of confusion and terror during the evacuation of Phnom Penh and takes on a more measured and sympathetic tone during the quieter scenes. The Killing Fields stands as a demonstration of how the human spirit and friendship can at times overcome terrible adversity and despite the harrowing nature of the subject matter, this is ultimately an uplifting story.
½ November 13, 2016
A group of journalists are caught up in a warzone, there one big contributer is unable to get safe, ends up in slavery under young revolutionists. While one of the other journalists are getting world-wide recognition for his work. A painful and emotional time through fire, death and the unknown.
½ October 21, 2016
Very impressive. A film that unapologetically has a definite, passionate and sympathetic tone, without descending into too much sentimentality. The sentimentality there is, is needed, I think, to prevent it being unwatchable, since it is dealing with a very emotive and disturbing subject.
½ October 12, 2016
Grim story of a New York Times reporter's guide in Cambodia who spends four years labouring in the killing fields after the Khmer Rouge overtake the capital. He was one of the lucky ones. Great history lesson. Hard to believe this happened in my lifetime.
½ October 1, 2016
Destruction and violence shown from the point of view of a journalist covering the state of the war-torn country in which it's set.
July 20, 2016
Telling an important historical story.
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2016
With the film's gut-wrenching first half devoted to depicting with gritty realism and a beautiful cinematography the takeover of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, the second half relies on Ngor's superb performance to show a man in an amazing struggle to escape from hell.
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2016
A harrowing tale ruined only by Oldfield's synth score.
½ May 11, 2016
Interesting true story of friendship and survival, set against the backdrop of one of history's most oppressive regimes.

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.
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