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John Truscott goes to Borneo to work with the Iban. He reports to Henry Bullard, who gives him a "sleeping dictionary"--one of the locals who teaches him the local language and culture. And who he gives John is Selima. And while teaching him, John finds himself attracted to her. And we says it's not allowed, both the locals and Bullard forbid him to be in a relationship with Selima. But he defies them which has dire consequences. Written by
While overseas, I had heard the concept of the movie and the fact the appealing Jessica Alba was featured but had little chance to check on the actual film. When I returned to the USA late last year, I found the film had gone directly to video with limited availability (couldn't get it at Blockbuster, for instance). I am glad that I wound up buying a copy (although I found a 'used' DVD for half the new asking price).
It is a shame the film never appeared in theaters as the visuals of Sarawak would have been great on the large screen and the audio and music are well done and would have benefited from a theatrical environment.
BELOW IS DISCUSSION OF PLOT ELEMENTS WHICH MIGHT SPOIL IT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM.
While overall the plot line was reasonable and avoided cliche, there were a number of disconnects as far as I was concerned.
Truscott's dilemma with Bullard after the miners' slaughter arrives too abruptly and presumes some sort of offscreen confession. Since it is a central conflict in the drama, it really deserves more explanation.
Similarly, the "one year later" leap to Truscott's marrying Cecil Bullard lacked sincerity. Why would Truscutt marry the daughter of those who wedged him away from his true love? While one can imagine various possibilities, the lack of on screen justification left me unfulfilled.
Finally, even after conversion by Sarawak and its people, Truscutt is still too much of a proper Englishman to credibly leave a pregnant wife. Some of the sympathy I'd built up for the forbidden lovers was undercut by the way this was handled. It would have been far better for Cecil to push a reluctant Truscutt away.
Still, these plot issues are relatively small in comparison to a film, cast and cinematography that rose well above the small budget and unheralded distribution. I rarely buy videos or DVDs because I find I seldom go back to play them, but this one I will enjoy owning.
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