The Quiet American

Exotic women and exotic countries reflect a man’s love so that he sees only his own longing and desire. The more he gazes on the object of his love, the less he sees of the mirror. He is lost in his own image.

In The Quiet American, two men have lost themselves in the desire for the same woman and the same country. Each man thinks he is the one to save both. But neither man really sees or understands either.

Michael Caine plays the older man, representing the imperialistic, old world view. Brendan Fraser plays the affable young American, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed but just as dangerously paternalistic. He’s one of those men who thinks he knows what’s best for you and runs your life accordingly. His sincerity makes him all the more difficult to resist. He’s so convincing, he’s probably convinced himself.

The story is the story of these two men; the object of their desire remains elusive, mysterious, and unexplained. For this reason, although I liked The Quiet American and recommend it, I prefer Indochine. Told from the woman’s point of view, the object becomes the subject. Indochine is about Viet Nam seen through the lens of two womens lives. The Quiet American is about the differences between two men moral choices silhouetted in the backdrop of Viet Nam.

Watch them both.

Bottom Line: Recommended

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