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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>
I'm a little surprised by the negative criticism this film is attracting.
I'm old enough to be the father of the two main characters; they seemed like accurately drawn teenage girls to me. And I've probably hung out with both of their fathers before. I've been to the Far East. I've stayed in both better and worse places than the girls stayed. I had the pleasure of seeing the inside of a police station after I was robbed. I'm glad I had no more direct exposure to the local judicial system than that; that was more than enough. Everything in this movie seems awfully familiar to me.
I think "Brokedown Palace" represents something pretty close to stark realism. It certainly reminded me of Asia.
Of course it's true that the attitudes of the girls often don't do much to improve their situation. But they are meant to be an example of what not to do overseas. And the portrayal of some of the Thais did make me uncomfortable. But then many of my own personal travel anecdotes don't paint a complimentary picture either.
This is a cautionary tale. An unfortunate consequence of too many people having too much money to spend these days is that you will find unescorted, unprepared, "streetwise", naive young people popping up in places where they have no business being. And when that happens, you end up with situations mirroring this movie.
I suspect people choose to denigrate this one because they are too embarrassed to accept how true it is, and how vulnerable they would be if placed in similar circumstances.
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