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Beyond Rangoon
Beyond Rangoon
Actors: Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko, Frances McDormand, Spalding Gray, Tiara Jacquelina
Director: John Boorman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
R     2009     1hr 40min

A young San Francisco widow is swept into a political uprising in Burma after her sister reluctantly drags her on a Southeast Asia tour.

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Patricia Arquette, U Aung Ko, Frances McDormand, Spalding Gray, Tiara Jacquelina
Director: John Boorman
Creators: John Boorman, Alex Lasker, Barry Spikings, Bill Rubenstein, Eric Pleskow
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/26/2009
Original Release Date: 08/25/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 08/25/1995
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, Japanese, Portuguese

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Movie Reviews

Important but unappreciated
H. David Peirce | Houston, TX USA | 04/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Patricia Arquette stars as a tourist vacationing in the country of Burma. Why someone who had just lost her husband and son to murder would vacation there is beyond me. But let's not quibble about something that is minor compared to what is a sweeping and powerful qwest for freedom. The qwest for freedom in the movie is for Arquette, her Burmese friends, and for the Burmese people. Arquette is unwittingly dumped by Fate into harm's way, only to rediscover her own inner strength. The Burmese people have been living in harm's way for years under a brutal military regime. It takes all the inner strength they can muster to make it through each day. And for those who are truly brave, there may be opportunities to escape into Thailand.I won't go into detail on the plot. Suffice to say that I was greatly moved by the stories in the movie. I verified the horrible life faced by the Burmese people after watching this movie. I didn't know. We in the West live in ignorance of such horrifying human rights abuses. Burma's struggle is not on the news every night. These people largely suffer in silence.The movie probably tones it down quite a bit. The Burmese army routinely enscripts and brutalizes child labor to build roads (often for Western companies). The army routinely rapes women in villages around the country. And the army has systematically murdered adult men, particularly any man even thought to be in opposition to the dictatorship. Burma experiences the depths of evil everyday.We owe it to ourselves to watch such movies. They remind us of what man is capable of and what we must overcome. They remind us of the power we have to overcome. And they remind us to be thankful for the freedoms we in the West enjoy."
A River of Grief
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 09/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Patricia Arquette is excellent as a young woman numb with grief who slowly comes to terms with being left behind after her husband and young son are murdered in their home during a robbery. When she travels to Burma to vacation with her sister, Andy (Frances McDormand), she finds a country in as much pain as she is and slowly finds the purpose she so desparately needs. Based on actual events, John Boorman deftly weaves on a large loom the fine thread of Laura Bowman's intimate story with the thicker yarn of a country fighting for democracy.

Laura (Arquette) and her sister, Andy (Frances McDormand), are on vacation in Burma, two American tourists enjoying a boat ride down a beautifully scenic river in Burma. Laura has been brought here by her sister in the hopes it will help her move forward after she has lost everything she loved. Though Laura seems stoic, there is tremendous pain just beneath the surface, emotions so strong she dare not let herself feel them. She has walked away from her life as a doctor because she could not heal herself and is drifting on a boat of sorrow.

Boorman shows us a visually beautiful country, that like Arquette, has deep emotions just below the surface. One night in her hotel room Laura hears a demonstration in the streets and is drawn to it, witnessing firsthand the call for freedom as one woman fearlessly calls for democracy in the midst of soldiers sent to stop her. That woman is Aung Suu Kui (Adelle Lutz). The soldiers are, in a larger sense, her sons and brothers, and she bravely walks to them and lowers their weapons.

When Laura is separated from her sister she forms a friendship with an elderly teacher and a group of young students who are seeking change. She learns of the government crackdown that has cost many their lives, as soldiers have fired into crowds of young students. Laura wonders why the world has not heard about this but learns that no photo journalists are allowed to send words or pictures outside of the country. Cut off from her family, Laura must make her way, along with the others, to Thailand, for safety. She will risk her life on more than one occasion as they make their way through the lush jungle and down the beautiful rivers of Rangoon.

Laura has found a place for her grief to dwell as she has unknowingly come to a place where millions are grieving. A transformation occurs within Laura as she begins to live again, and in doing so starts the healing process. "Beyond Rangoon" is a film about the struggle for political change and the struggle within ourselves to find redemption. Arquette gives a subtle performance as Laura, dead on the surface, but filled with anguish underneath.

Laura, who has begun to feel again, will make a decision at the end of this film that will alter the direction of her life forever. Travel down the beautiful waters of Irrawaddy with Arquette as she navigates her way through a river of grief, and discovers the reason she was left behind. It is a journey worth taking."
Where's the DVD?
Ryan Carl Mclemore | Austin, TX | 03/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film should be released on DVD! A wonderful story with a an uplifting ending. Why not honor the struggle for Democracy in Myanmar by releasing this movie on DVD? More people should be familiar with Aung San Suu Kyi's fight for freedom. The superb score is extremely moving. Furthermore, the beautiful scenery and Burmese culture will make you want to immediately travel to SE Asia."
You feel the Heat
Joseph J. Slevin | Carlsbad, CA United States | 05/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Beyond Rangoon is an excellent movie for understanding the struggle between freedom and oppression.I happened to be on the Thai border in September of 1988 just prior to the massive movement of people across the border due to the response to Aung San Suu Kyi and her following. I did not know that at the time. All I remember is that on Thai TV a border war seemed to be starting and the road that I was driving on just the week before was being bombed by the Burmese.The story, although referring to the rebellion and some of those who fled, is more about Archette's character as she struggled to forget the death of her son and husband. As a Doctor, she never took time to get away, and Rangoon seemed a place to be that was exotic.She takes a walk one very balmy evening only to see Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers walking enmasse on the street. There is later the next day another protest, then things unravel and Archette, Dr. Laura Bowman, is forced to flee.The flight across the jungle is intense. You actually feel the horror she feels, the close calls, yet, she is helped to flee by virtual strangers with a mutual desire to survive.This is an excellent movie as an introduction to Myanmar/Burmese history. I have stayed on the border with some of the Karen peoples, whom you will be introduced to at the end of the movie. They are a kind people who also have been effected by the power politics that is Myanmar. This movie is a keeper and worth watching now and again to remind you that the rest of the world does not rest as easy as we do in the west."