Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fraught Foreigners

The first adaptation of Graham Greene's The Quiet American features Michael Redgrave as a pompous English journalist lounging about Saigon whose life is shaken once his beautiful mistress catches the eye of a young, idealistic Yank. Set during the heady prewar era of Indochina this is an excellent sweaty thriller steeped in conspiracies and cuckolding with the two love rivals representing the differing political positions of the day. The acting, script and Mankiewicz's direction are of an effortlessly high standard and it's prophetic examination of imperialistic foreign policy is just as apt today as then. According to Wikip Greene himself wasn't too keen for this version as it excised much of the novel's antiwar emphasis and though it is does reek of propaganda it's still a highly enjoyable watch.

Kill The Irishman is a true crime thriller about some street thug turned union boss who finds himself in a murderous dispute with an ineffectual Mafia boss. There's a nicely homespun feel to the violence and the constraints of it's low budget actually assist in the realism but ultimately the main character and the actor portraying him fail to elicit anything like the charm or character as say Liotta's performance Henry in Goodfellas and the whole thing never really comes to much. A solid but unremarkable effort.

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