Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Year of Living Dangerously

The Year of Living Dangerously; Drama, Australia, 1983; D: Peter Weir, S: Mel Gibson, Linda Hunt, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Kerr, Michael Murphy, Noel Ferrier

Jakarta, '65. Australian journalist Guy Hamilton arrives in the city to report about the political turmoil during Sukarno's government and becomes friends with a dwarf colleague Billy. Guy misses a sensation, so Billy organizes an interview with the Communist leader for him, something that causes many to envy him. The two of them become partners. Guy also meets Jill, an assistant at the British embassy and falls in love with her. She tells him that Communists may take over the power once they get an arms shipment - when reporting about this, he gets in a lot of trouble. Billy is disappointed at the government at gets killed when thrown out of the window. Guy gets hit in the eye by a soldier when he wanted to enter the palace, but manages to escape with Jill in an airplane.

Impressive drama "The Year of Living Dangerously" evenly balances the story between a drama and political essay about turmoil during the time of Sukarno government, even though it doesn't contain some unforgettable scenes, while the biggest surprise comes from small actress Linda Hunt who seriously played the role of a man, Billy (!), even though it's not clear why the authors didn't just simply find a male actor, and for which she was nominated for an Golden Globe and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. Director Peter Weir finds real inspiration in the story and proves to be skillful enough to avoid picking any political side, even though he has sympathies and compassion for the poor and homeless people in Indonesia's capital and elsewhere, giving an appeal for humanity. Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver are excellent, but other actors are not less important. As with every Peter Weir film, "Living Dangerously" isn't an epic of gigantic, heavy proportions but a realistic, elegant reenactment of an event, and the music is fantastic, while a small critique can be addressed to the slightly conventional and shaky structure.


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