Beyond Rangoon

This 1995 film works so well as storytelling and action adventure that you may want to overlook the dubious if well-intentioned premise: the slaughter of the Burmese populace becomes significant only to the degree that an American tourist (Patricia Arquette), seeking to overcome a tragedy in her own life, becomes personally involved with it. Ace director John Boorman took over this project from other hands, and he shows his customary flair with ‘Scope compositions, gorgeous sunsets, and suspenseful, exotic spectacle. What left me a little uneasy is epitomized by Hans Zimmer’s hack score, which aims at sounding vaguely Southeast Asian (wooden-sounding flutes and the like) rather than specifically Burmese to get us all in the right paternalistic frame of mind. But if you don’t mind such casual insults, you’re likely to be glued to your seat. Alex Lasker and Bill Rubenstein wrote the script; with Frances McDormand, Spalding Gray, and U Aung Ko. 99 min. (JR)

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