The Quiet American

I saw this today (late, I know). Good movie. Michael Caine gives the best performance I’ve ever seen him give–really excellent. Unfortunately, Brendan Frasier is only so-so and the Vietnamese woman who plays Caine’s mistress (she’s a newcomer; can’t remember her name) is really bad. If Caine had had a couple of better actors to play off of, I think this movie could have been a real stand-out.

Even with the less-than-stellar perfomances from those two, though, it’s still a good movie. Good story, good pacing, some moments of really great dialog. And it’s an interesting period that I haven’t seen covered before (Vietnam during the French/Communist fighting in the 50’s). Thumbs up.

I mostly agree, Ryan, although I wasn’t that taken with Caine’s performance. He was good, to be sure, but I can’t help but think his nomination here is more of a career recognition nod. I also disagree about Brendan Frasier. I think he’s consistently underrated and this is another example of him doing suprisingly good work with what could have been a thin character (Gods and Monsters is the best example of him working wonders with a role that doesn’t really need it).

I thought it was an interesting adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel. There were some surprisingly prophetic observations on the US/Vietnam situation considering the movie’s time period and when the novel was written. But it seems they were mostly creative license taken with the script. Also, there were apparently some significant religious themes a la End of the Affair that were cut from the story. (The girl I saw it with had read the book, so I don’t know these things first hand.)

But on the whole, I love movies like this. It’s a great story about the sort of pathetic desperate character that Greene was so good at drawing as his protagonists. I love how it’s woven into the political drama of Vietnam. There are some great uses of the location and it looks great.

And to think that it almost wasn’t released…


I agree with Tom – thought Caine was fine, but not spectacular, and don’t think his performance was in the league of the other nominees (in particular, DD Lewis and Nicholsen, but also Adrian Brody). But I thought the movie was one of the best of the year, with interesting characters and setting, and a great script and resolution.

Man, I’m surprised people are so tepid on Caine. I thought it was a really good performance. He did a great job playing a stoic Brit with strong (but barely visible) currents of anger or fear running underneath. Which made the few times where his emotions really come to the surface that much more powerful, for me. Definitely not as good as Nicholson or Day-Lewis, but still very very good.

Good comments, which I can’t disagree with.

yeah, there was a whole Catholic theme that got taken out of the movie, but there’s always a Catholic theme with Graham Greene and it would just be too overwrought for the big screen. I loved the book. I loved the movie. I wish they’d do a remake of Brighton Rock too.

Just seen this and found it rather touching. A bit of a sucker for the love stories on a downer. Thought Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser were both excellent, and the lady playing Caine’s mistress seemed perfectly suited to the role to me, though having a weakness for Asian beauties that may be more my heart than my brain speaking ;)

One thing I disliked was the opening, starting with the end at the beginning. I don’t really feel it added anything, beyond the detective element, but it did detract from the triangle as you already knew an important element of the outcome.

I was under the impression that the movie was not filmed in Vietnam, though my father felt like it was one of the most Vietnam-like movies he’d ever seen, and the resemblance of the white hotel was uncanny (he had stayed in it). Those outpost/towers really did exist, too.

— Alan