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Dr. Eduardo Plarr, despite the name is an Anglo working in a Latin American country. His work is a return home after several years. He begins to form and re-establish friendships and begins an affair. All of this comes together to create problems when he is asked to help revolutionaries kidnap a diplomat. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Honorary Consul/Beyond the Limit has an especially low reputation in the US, mainly because of the antipathy many feel to Richard Gere, but it's one of the best Graham Greene adaptations to date, and infinitely more successful than Philip Noyce's disappointing version of The Quiet American (which explores similar themes) with it's over-rated and rather lazily mechanical star-turn from Michael Caine. By contrast, Caine here is staggeringly good, totally inhabiting the character's flaws without 'giving a performance' - here he's inside the drunken Charlie Fortnum's skin completely and doesn't need to act. Gere certainly offers him better support than the disastrous Brendan Fraser, managing an acceptable English accent and capturing the character's emotional apathy. Bob Hoskins is also on top understated form as the local police chief, avoiding turning him into Senor Haroldo Shand and coming up with an amiably sympathetic but dangerous presence that owes nothing to his usual stock-in-trade characters.
The irony of timing of seeing a film about a fictional British hostage no-one wants back in the week after a real-life British hostage his government didn't want back was murdered in Iraq only occurred to me later. There are similarities (Caine's character even has a much-younger foreign wife while the Americans here also put pressure on the British government not to act), but being a Graham Greene story this is much more concerned with moral responsibility, lapsed Catholicism and, ultimately, an act of forgiveness that sees the film's nominally weakest and most compromised character emerge as it's strongest. Well directed by John Mackenzie with superb photography by Phil Meheux that compliment each other to give a convincing sense of everyday life in a military dictatorship, it's highly recommended despite the low IMDb rating.
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