Taking his first assignment, foreign correspondent Guy Hamilton lands in an Indonesia on the verge of revolution. Utilising the contacts of his photographer, Billy Kwan, who can bring him close to the action, as well as his affair with a female diplomat, he becomes the hottest reporter around. But the crises will to a point where he can no longer simply report the news.
Weir’s contentions about the events that fermented in Indonesia in the mid-‘60s were called into question upon the film’s release, and he had argued furiously with Christopher Koch upon whose novel the film was based, fixing on the now discounted contention that the CIA were behind the coup. But controversy aside, the film has weathered well, especially in Gibson’s moving relationship with Hunt, the emergence of a man who has contended with politics and morality, but was only now engaging with the reality of people’s lives. The Killing Fields may have made similar points about charging front-line journalists with nobility to greater acclaim, but this remains a powerful evocation of a nation’s rage.
Exotic love and war, guns and poetry, this delivers all the right ingrediends for to cook up a truly terrific war drama.
Reviewed by Ian Nathan