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Alice and Darlene, best friends, decide to take a trip to Thailand to celebrate high-school graduation. While there, they are befriended by charming Australian rogue Nick Parks. Nick convinces them to take a weekend side trip to Hong Kong, but at the airport, they are busted for smuggling drugs. They are convicted in a show trial and sentenced to 33 years; in desperation, they contact Yankee Hank, an American lawyer based in Thailand who has been reported to be helpful if you've got the cash. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Can you trust your best friend and how far will you go for them
Although I go to the movies regularly, I didn't see a trailer for this film, and the few reviews I read beforehand suggested it would appeal mainly to women under 35. Being neither, I could have been excused for missing this film, which would have been a shame, because I enjoyed it. The acting from Danes, Beckinsdale and Pullman was excellent and a pleasant change from watching films where special effects try to substitute for quality acting. Brokedown Palace is one of the few films I've seen this year where I haven't been able to correctly predict the outcome half way through.
For me this was more than a repeat of the "tourist taken advantage of by nasty local/foreign low life" film. While it is clearly a cautionary tale of the risks of travelling abroad, it is also very much about trusting your friends and the extent you are willing to make sacrifices for them.
It is also a reminder that in any country, justice is dispensed by people with power, and the extent that truth features in the dispensing of justice is largely at their discretion. The film correctly portrays that crying "I'm an American citizen, I have rights" rarely sees an immediate release from jail and humble apology from the local police, nor does enlisting the help of the US embassy result in a company of marines landing at night to storm the jail and rescue you.
Brokedown Palace is one of the few films I have seen this year which I intend to see again.
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