The acclaimed performances of two-time Academy Award(R)-winner Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, 1999; HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, 1986) and Brendan Fraser (THE MUMMY, GODS AND MONSTERS) power a styl... more »ish political thriller where love and war collide in Southeast Asia. Set in early 1950s Vietnam, a young American (Fraser) becomes entangled in a dangerous love triangle when he falls for the beautiful mistress of a British journalist (Caine). As war is waged around them, these three only sink deeper into a world of drugs, passion, and betrayal where nothing is as it seems. Based on the classic novel by Graham Greene -- you'll find yourself riveted by the fascinating intricacies and ever-developing intrigue of this outstanding motion picture.« less
George K. from COLCHESTER, CT Reviewed on 5/24/2016...
Marvelous tale of intrigue and deceit in 1950's Vietnam. A lovers' triangle in a war zone has a distressing and sad outcome.
Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser are totally convincing, as is the lovely Do Thi Hai Yen.
Anthony C. (upsidedownpi) from SAMMAMISH, WA Reviewed on 3/8/2010...
Michael Caine is excellent (as always). A fine addition to a collection.
B Doris D. (Frenchie300) from DETROIT, MI Reviewed on 11/9/2008...
A must see for anyone interested in how America got involved in Vietnam. While this film is based on Graham Greene's novel there is no doubt that that it contains a seed of truth. As Thomas Fowler, Michael Caine's performance does not disappoint.
Lisa J. (farmdog) from ATLANTA, GA Reviewed on 4/4/2008...
Pretty mediocre. I couldn't care about any of the characters in this film. I really like Brendan Fraser, but he was miscast in this film, and he seems to know it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
LOVE AND WAR IN INDOCHINA
S. Calhoun | Chicago, IL United States | 02/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE QUIET AMERICAN is a successful and intriguing adaptation of Graham Greene's classic novel. In 1952 a veteran British journalist (Michael Caine) is stationed in Saigon to cover the events of the French Indochina War. Caine meets a young idealistic American doctor (Brendan Fraser) at an outdoor cafe and they soon become friends. But soon enough their friendship becomes complicated when Fraser becomes attracted to Caine's girlfriend (Do Thi Hai Yen) who is a beautiful Vietnamese woman.What follows is an often suspenseful film that addresses the battle of French colonialism against the Communist advance from the north and the role of a third party to defeat the two former enemies. Caught in the middle is Caine, Fraser and the woman that they both love as they navigate the dramatic changes which are occurring in Vietnam each day. Caine discover that people are not who they claim to be.One of the most stunning aspects of THE QUIET AMERICAN is the cinematography by Christopher Doyle which captures the beautiful green and lush Vietnamese countryside filled with mountains and lakes and rivers. I have to admit that prior to deeing this film I was not a big fan of Michael Caine, but his performance is admirable and convincing. I now understand why he was nominated for an Oscar -- and I believe he is a strong contender. THE QUIET AMERICAN is one of the best films I have seen in some time."
Highly effective version of a Graham Greene classic
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 02/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Caine has managed a large number of superb performances over the years, but this is probably his finest film in many, many years. Although Brendan Fraser and the remarkably beautiful Do Thi Hai Yen are excellent in the other two main roles, this film lives or dies with the character of Thomas Fowler. Thankfully, Caine is stunning. His performance is quiet, nuanced, and remarkably subtle. It is paradoxically one of the most emotional performances he has given in some time, but at the same time one of his more subdued. The film is set in Vietnam during the French war with the Communists of North Vietnam. It is also the time when the United States began their involvement in the country, doing their part to stymie the spread of the Red Menace. The movie does a great job of presenting the emerging complexities of the conflict. There are several stunning scenes, in particular a terrorist bombing, which is one of the most vivid and horrifying instances of onscreen violence that I have witnessed in some time. But the focus of the film always remains on the interplay of the personalities. The politics of the situation is not ignored, but in the end the film is about people.Director Philip Noyce had before 2002 been known primarily as a director of Hollywood action films, but after directing two of the finest films of this past year in THE RABBIT-PROOF FENCE and THE QUIET AMERICAN, he has suddenly emerged as one of the finer directors of serious films. I don't know what his next project is going to be, but I await it with great eagerness. He keeps both the mood and the lighting of this film very, very dark. Most of the scenes take place in shadows, in the evening, or in darkened rooms, as if it were an external manifestation of the internal ambiguity that permeates the film. I have long wanted to see Brendan Fraser take on more serious roles, especially after seeing him in GODS AND MONSTERS. He is good in comedy, but I have sometimes found the congenial idiots he so often portrays to be a little irritating.
This is a wonderfully serious film, and it stands in stark contrast to so many of the films coming out these days. It is a film that takes its time, with the director allowing scenes to develop slowly, never in a rush to tell his story. But I loved his narrative style, and I can't imagine any fan of film not being stunned by Michael Caine's masterful performance."
The seduction of American innocence
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 11/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all the films I've seen over the years concerning America's involvement in Vietnam, THE QUIET AMERICAN is perhaps the most seductive.It's 1952, and Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine) is the aging correspondent for the London Times in Saigon. France is in the process of being tossed out of Indochina, but the former doesn't realize it yet - Dien Bien Phu is still in the future - and its military fights on ineffectually against the communists. In the meantime, Fowler submits the occasional story to the head office while finding comfort in the arms of opium and his Vietnamese mistress Phuong (Do Hai Yen), a former taxi dancer at a local club. Then, one day, THE QUIET AMERICAN Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) shows up. Pyle claims to be with a medical aid mission in country to combat trachoma, a bacterial disease causing blindness. But what is Pyle, really? He seems awfully chummy with the conniving powers over at the U.S. legation. In any case, Alden very soon falls in love with Phuong, attention that neither the jealous Fowler can prevent nor Phuong finds particularly unwelcome. Not since LITTLE VOICE (1998) has Michael Caine acted so powerfully, and this is perhaps his greatest role ever. An Academy Award nomination is deservedly due. Fraser is perfect as the clean-cut, idealistic and naïve Yank who may be something other than he claims. Yen is positively exquisite as the delicate Phuong. As Fowler puts it, his death would begin if he lost her.THE QUIET AMERICAN, based on the Graham Greene novel, can be seen as an allegorical story of America's fledgling interest in succoring Vietnam from the Red Menace. After all, the French seem unequal to the task. Pyle perhaps comes to symbolically represent the American innocence that is seduced by Vietnam in the form of Phuong, and the former wishes "to save" the latter from the escalating national chaos. Only the tired and world-weary Fowler knows that this is impossible. He would "save" Phuong himself if he could, but he can't. THE QUIET AMERICAN is an anti-war, anti-intervention film best viewed these many years after America withdrew from its Southeast Asian debacle and passions have cooled. This is one of the best films of 2002."
The story deepens. Reality changes. Questions emerge.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Vietnam. It makes me think of war.But even before Americans got involved, the Vietnamese were fighting the French for independence. And it was Ho Chi Minh and the Communists who were actively doing the fighting.It was the early 1950s though, years before the Americans got involved. Or was it?This film answers that question.And yet, there is a lot more to the story than just the politics.It is about an aging British journalist, played by Michael Caine. He's been in Vietnam for years and loves it. He has a wife somewhere in England who he hasn't seen in years and will not divorce him. And he has a gorgeous young Vietnamese woman, Do Hai Yen, who he's been living with for several years. The arrangement works for both of them.But things change. A quiet American, played by Brendan Fraser enters the picture. He says he's an aid worker. And he befriends Michael Caine.But what is the American's REAL purpose in Vietnam? Questions start to surface. Especially when the American declares his love for Caine's woman.In the meantime a war is going on. Caine and Fraser almost get killed. And then there is a horrible explosion in the middle of the city.There's death all around. And love. And a sense of place so well captured by the director, Phillip Noyce, that I could almost feel the Vietnam of the 1950's all around me.The story moved fast, and the plot revealed details that changed the reality of what things seemed at first. And it was all done so well that all I could do was sit there, watch the screen, and let it all unfold.The film was supposed to be released in September 2001, shortly after 9/11. However, the filmmakers chose to hold on to it until 2002. When you see it, the reason will become startlingly clear.This screenplay is an adaptation of the book written by Graham Greene in 1955. I loved the book. And I love the film. I give it my highest recommendation. Don't miss it."
Michael Caine at his world-class best
bensmomma | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 02/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Caine is an international treasure. His performance as an aging British journalist in 1950s Vietnam brings great depth and emotional gravity to this movie. He makes Brendan Fraser as the American who invades his life, tries to take his young Vietnamese girlfriend, seem shallow. But of course this is appropriate to Fraser?s character, who manages to be both arrogant and at the same time naïve. Greene?s story, now filmed with its original ending, now seems like a masterpiece of prophecy. The production is beautiful and thoughtful. Overall, this is everything you could ask a movie to be: thought-provoking, a great script, beautifully filmed and acted."