Friday, March 25, 2005

Brokedown Palace (1999)

Starring Clare Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman, et al
Rated PG-13, 100 minutes

Here is yet another in a series of movies I was forced to watch in school. Now once you read this review, remember this question: why would ANYBODY be subjected to this?

Alice and Darlene (Danes and Beckinsale) were best friends all through high school as the opening tritely tells us. Seriously, all it was missing was “once upon a time...” Everything opens up with Bill Pullman’s character, a lawyer, being sent a tape containing a narrative of the whole course of events.

So these two go on a dream trip to Thailand. Yeah, I know, I’m so jealous too. The rationale in the movie was that traveling there was so cheap, they couldn’t help but go. There’s Stupid Decision By the Girls #1. Then, as they try to put drinks on somebody’s tab at a Thai hotel, they’re romanced by a sleazy Aussie who picks up the check for them. This was so horribly cookie cutter that you could tell he was sleazy and exactly where it was going when he came up.

So after he romances the girls to go to Hong Kong (yet again, romantic destination), he plants drugs in their bags to create a diversion, so his other six or so couriers can deliver their drugs. They get put in jail and it's all really bad. Which is how the 5-year old who wrote this came up with the dialogue. "How are they feeling? Bad. Okay...'I...feel...bad.'"

Before we watched the movie, we read this fluff article about the director going to Thailand and coming up with the inspiration for the movie. This coupled with an ad for the soundtrack, which featured dark music and edgy graphics, made me think “well, it can’t be half bad,” It wasn’t. It ate the whole bad pie and came back for seconds.

Clare Danes and Kate Beckinsale should be banished from further acting until they decide that reading isn’t all you need to do with the freakin’ lines. Bill Pullman sort of phones it in. Quite hilariously, the best performance is from Lou Diamond Phillips, whose part is about three scenes in length.

The music was abhorrent. It was like all the trippy lyrics they play over techno beats, just without all the blips and boops. There was a remake of “Rock the Casbah” sung by a woman and a man with depression that played to their dancing.

And I haven’t even mentioned the worst points of this plot. There are serious logic holes, as well as a problem with pacing. The lead to them getting caught was about 30 minutes long. By that point, you wonder “I only care enough to hear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if they’re guilty. How the hell could that last 60 minutes?” Well, there are so many “twists” it could’ve taken 80 or 100, but the director decided my eyes have been plagued enough at an hour-and-a-half.

I really could go on about more, like the scene in jail where Clare Danes gets a phone held up to her ear, then she’s holding it about the cell, then she herself is holding the phone to the cage. BUT, I won’t. Just know that it all sucks and you should only see it to torture somebody or to get all your anger welled up for an explosion such as this review.

There are no stars to put in that space. There was absolutely nothing redeeming from the movie itself. But man, am I cleansed of the bad air now. Let’s go eat a cake!

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