[Screen It]


(2002) (Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Minor None Mild None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Mild Mild Moderate Extreme

Drama: A world weary British reporter becomes suspicious of an American's political and romantic motives when the latter keeps showing up in various hot spots and tries to win over his mistress's heart in 1950s era Vietnam.
It's 1952 Saigon and Thomas Fowler (MICHAEL CAINE) is a reporter for the London Times who does not intend to return to married life in England. That's because he's become entranced by the beauty of the land as well as that of his mistress, Phuong (DO THI HAI YEN), who he's been seeing for several years, much to the dismay of her sister.

She feels that American Economics Aid worker Alden Pyle (BRENDAN FRASER) would be a better catch for Phuong. Bitten by the love at first site bug, Alden thinks the same thing upon meeting her and Thomas.

The reporter has more pressing problems, however, as his paper wants him to return home. Needing a story, he travels to a remote hot spot where he not only runs into Pyle, but also witness the aftermath of a massacre that may or may not have been the work of the communists. Upon a trip to interview upstart General Thé (QUANG HAI), Thomas once again encounters Pyle and begins to grow suspicious of whether he has dealings with suspected government operatives including Joe Tunney (ROBERT STANTON) and Bill Granger (HOLMES OBSORNE).

With such suspicion growing along with his jealousy toward Pyle trying to win Phuong's heart despite knowing she's involved with Thomas, it's only a matter of time before things come to a violent head, all of which eventually involve Inspector Vigot (RADE SHERBEDGIA) investigating a serious crime.

Unless they're fans of someone in front of or behind the camera or Vietnam, it doesn't seem likely that the film will be of much interest to any kids beyond older teens.
For images of violence and some language.
To avoid giving away any late in the film surprises, not all characteristics are mentioned here.
  • MICHAEL CAINE plays a world weary and married British reporter who'd do anything to stay in Vietnam with his mistress. He uses strong profanity, does some opium, drinks some and becomes suspicious of Pyle.
  • BRENDAN FRASER plays an American who claims to be working for a relief organization but whose appearances in various hot spots suggests otherwise. Despite knowing that Thomas is involved with Phuong, he tries to win over her heart.
  • DO THI HAI YEN plays Thomas' mistress who must decide between him and Pyle.
  • ROBERT STANTON and HOLMES OBSORNE play two Americans of dubious nature who drink (with one being drunk).
  • QUANG HAI plays a renegade general who Thomas wants to interview.
  • RADE SHERBEDGIA plays a French inspector investigating a murder.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 2 "f" words as well as other expletives and some colorful phrases. Some sexually related dialogue is present, as is some related activity and implied sex. Part of that includes a married man having an affair with his mistress. Other bad attitudes are also present.

    Violence consists of various murders and the aftermath of massacres and bombings (all of which have bloody and gory results). Some of those scenes and others may be disturbing or suspenseful to some viewers. Various characters drink and/or smoke, while some drug use is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Various people drink where Bill is drunk.
  • People smoke what appears to be opium (or something like it).
  • Various people drink, including Thomas.
  • Thomas smokes opium.
  • Thomas offers to order Alden some whiskey but he just wants soda.
  • Phuong offers some opium to Alden, but he declines the offer.
  • Various people drink in the past, including Thomas.
  • Thomas comments that he better have a brandy and soda.
  • Pyle brings over a bottle of liquor.
  • Thomas walks in with a bottle of liquor.
  • Thomas has a drink and Pyle says he wants whiskey.
  • A man is drunk.
  • Thomas has a drink in a bar where others drink.
  • We see a body with some blood on it (and briefly see a knife wound on the chest).
  • We see many dead and bloody bodies on the ground in a village. We later see more bodies being carried off.
  • Dead and wounded people are bloody after several explosions (some of them very bloody, including those who've had limbs blown off).
  • Some blood drips from Thomas to the floor.
  • We see a flashback to the above explosion scene with more bloody people.
  • A man has blood on his shirt after being stabbed in the chest.
  • We learn that Phuong is Fowler's mistress (and thus he's cheating on his unseen wife).
  • Fowler lies to his bosses about having a story so that he can stay in Saigon (he does go and get one, however).
  • Alden tries to move in on Phuong despite Thomas currently seeing her.
  • Thomas lies about the contents of a letter.
  • The person behind several car bombs has both types of attitudes (although he's presumably carrying out orders from his government).
  • A person conspires to have another person killed (which several others complete).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" might also be disturbing or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Driving back toward Saigon at night, Thomas and Alden find themselves stranded and enter a watchtower. There, they encounter two young and scared soldiers who aim their guns at them. Moments later, Pyle grabs the guns when voices are heard outside the tower and the two escape and then try to hide from enemy forces (with Pyle leaving Thomas behind to look for help).
  • Some men find Thomas and his assistant snooping around a warehouse and confront them.
  • A car suddenly explodes as does another, resulting in many people being wounded or killed (with bloody results) and a building being damaged.
  • Men confront, threaten and then chase after another man (we know they've been sent to kill him).
  • Various guns/knife: Carried and/or used to threaten or shoot at others.
  • Explosives/bombs: Used to blow up the top of a watchtower and (presumably kill two guards) as well as several car bombs that kill or seriously injure and maim many people. We also hear various explosions in the background of scenes.
  • Phrases: "How the f*ck should I know?" "Bastards," "What the hell are you doing?" "Bloody hell," "Bugger off," "Bugger" (noun), "Shut up," "Piece of ass" and "Don't give a damn."
  • None.
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 2 "f" words, 3 "s" words, 2 asses, 2 hells, 1 damn, 3 uses of "Christ" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Oh good God" as exclamations.
  • We see Phuong in her bra with Thomas, and then see her remove that (from behind, thus we see her bare back).
  • Bill tells Thomas, "You got your piece of ass, I want mine."
  • A prostitute shows cleavage and various others fawn over Bill.
  • Phuong shows cleavage while lying on a bed with Thomas.
  • After Alden tells Phuong that he loves her, Thomas sarcastically tells her, "You can always make love to the chauffeur while he's at the office."
  • Thomas comments on starting off promiscuous and ending up being a grandfather and faithful to one woman. Pyle then asks if he's had many women.
  • We see a flashback to some guy pawing all over Phuong. We also see a point of view shot looking up at her with some suggested movement (thus implied sex).
  • Thomas says that Phuong might have ended up as a "piece of ass" with someone else.
  • Pyle and General Thé each smoke once, while various miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • Thomas is having a several-year affair with Phuong and mentions that his unseen wife will not give him a divorce. We later see Thomas writing a letter to his wife wanting a divorce. He gets a reply that he states grants him that, but we then hear that he lied about it.
  • Vietnam in that era and the role of Americans then and there.
  • Reporters and them trying to remain impartial to the events they're covering.
  • Mistresses.
  • Drug use.
  • We hear explosions in the background and see some tracers being fired.
  • We see a body with some blood on it (and hear that he was murdered by a knife).
  • We hear a grenade go off.
  • A shot is fired at a villager who turns out to be Alden (but he's not hit).
  • We see many dead and bloody bodies on the ground in a village (we don't see their murders).
  • Bombs go off around Thomas and Alden as they talk in a bunker. We later see some bodies being carried off from this area.
  • A guard holds a gun on Thomas at a roadblock.
  • Some guards aim their guns at Pyle and Thomas. The latter two eventually escape, but Thomas hurts his ankle from jumping down from a tower. An explosive is then thrown up to the top of a watchtower (presumably killing two guards) and enemy forces also burn the guys' car.
  • A car suddenly explodes, as does another, resulting in many people being wounded or killed (with bloody results -- some of which are very bloody, including people who've had limbs blown off) and a building is damaged.
  • We see another car explode.
  • A man pulls a gun on a man and another holds a knife to that man's back.
  • A dog bites at a person's leg.
  • A man pushes other men aside and runs from those other men who chase after him. One pulls out a knife and stabs that man in the chest.

  • Reviewed November 19, 2002 / Posted February 7, 2003

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