An intelligent, articulate scholar, Harrison MacWhite, survives a hostile Senate confirmation hearing at the hands of conservatives to become ambassador to Sarkan, a southeast Asian country... See full summary »
An intelligent, articulate scholar, Harrison MacWhite, survives a hostile Senate confirmation hearing at the hands of conservatives to become ambassador to Sarkan, a southeast Asian country where civil war threatens a tense peace. Despite his knowledge, once he's there, MacWhite sees only a dichotomy between the U.S. and Communism. He can't accept that anti-American sentiment might be a longing for self-determination and nationalism. So, he breaks from his friend Deong, a local opposition leader, ignores a foreman's advice about slowing the building of a road, and tries to muscle ahead. What price must the country and his friends pay for him to get some sense? Written by
An intelligently crafted and written movie...but not too exciting on a cinematic level
Marlon Brando gives a fair performance as the new American Ambassador elected to Sarkhan in Southeast Asia, which had been a peaceful, friendly nation fifteen years prior but is now being taken over by radical Communists distrustful of outside development. Adapted from the novel by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, the dramatic, talkative picture (filmed mostly in Thailand) is a thoughtful rabble-rouser about conflicting political views. Brando's one native confidante in Sarkhan (wonderfully portrayed by Eiji Okada) admits to working both sides of the proverbial fence, which allows for a stimulating discussion of personal values in which common sense no longer comes into play. Although beautifully photographed by Clifford Stine, the results are literate and intriguing without being intrinsically exciting (at its core, the nature of the film is a tug-of-war, with the participants often engaged in a shouting match). Moving in fits and starts, one must sit through a great deal of pontificating before arriving at the conclusion, however the film's strongest scenes remain forceful and memorable. ** from ****
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