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Movie Reviews

Brokedown Palace  

Alice (Claire Danes)
Darlene (Kate Beckinsale)
Hank Green (Bill Pullman)
Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine)
U.S. DEA Official (Lou Diamond Phillips)

Directed by Jonathon Kaplan Written by Adam Fields and David Arata

Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity, drug related material and violent content Running Time: 100 minutes Distributed by 20th Century Fox

Brokedown Palace is a weak film that had a decent story to work with but didn't establish or present it well. Two best friends, Alice (Danes) and Darlene (Beckinsale) are on their senior trip in Thailand. The two are approached by Australian Nick Parks (Lapaine) who invites them to fly out and meet him in Hong Kong for a few days. Alice and Darlene decide that it would be a blast. However, the two friends are arrested at the airport for having large amounts of drugs in one of their bags. The two girls proclaim their innocence but are still sentenced to over 30 years in a Thai prison. Hank Green (Pullman), an American attorney that works in Thailand, receives information about Alice and Darlene. Hank decides to help the girls and try to prove their innocence. Hank begins researching Nick Parks and each of the girl's encounters with him; thus, leading to the opening of many questions, twists, and the mending of the friendship between Alice and Darlene.

Brokedown Palace has entirely too many loopholes to be a good film. It also seemed like the film was rushed into production. There are no feelings for Alice and Darlene until the very end of the film. The development of all the characters is weak, as well. At the end of the film, I was shaking my head trying to figure out how Hank found out half the things he did. It was almost like all the clues and evidence landed in his lap.

Brokedown Palace also has stupid irrelevant scenes in it. For example in one scene Alice smokes marijuana in prison after her and Darlene have a big argument. Why in the hell would this character do this? She is in wrongfully prison because of drugs in the first place.

There was also no development of the prison itself. It did have cockroaches and nasty food, but the actors showed no reflection of the place itself, either being stinky or crummy.

The acting in Brokedown Palace is very lame. Danes and Beckinsale hold their moments in the climax of the film. In my opinion, I would rather see these young actresses in better roles. Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays DEA agent in Thailand, is awful, but once again the character has no development. Finally there is the performance by Bill Pullman. Poor Bill Pullman, I don’t mean to rag on the man, but this isn't his summer. His performance was almost as bad as his previous performance in this summer's Lake Placid. Pullman is not good at playing a hard-nosed hero. His talent lies in his common likable roles like in Zero Effect and Malice. I like Pullman, but he just has not done any good acting lately.

If you like the type of in imprisoned friends movie, I recommend last year's Return to Paradise, the film is outstanding. Brokedown Palace did have a descent story, but the overall movie sucked. The film lacked consistency and had no feeling until the very end.

Report Card Grade: D

Beastman's Movie Reviews
Copyright, 1999 Joseph C. Tucker

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