Projections - Movie Reviews

Brokedown Palace

The first time I want to Hawaii, a business man told me he had thought of relocating to places further into South East Asia.  But in Hawaii he was under the same constitution which did not exist in other nations. The two stars in Brokedown Palace don't think about that.

Alice (Clair Danes) who lives a little on the edge and her best friend Darlene (Kate Beckinsale) decide that a trip to Thailand would be more exciting than visiting Hawaii, so without telling their parents, flight tickets are changed and the seventeen year old girls head for the rundown Hotel Royal in Bangkok.  They crash a top of the line hotel and charge refreshments to a room.  When caught by a waiter, along comes seductive and handsome Australian, Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine) to bail them out.  Each girl is smitten with Nick, so when he offers to treat them to a side trip to Hong Kong they bite.  At the airport in Bangkok Darlene and Alice are caught with tins of heroin in their luggage.

The two learn later that a number of girls are carrying heroin and the police arrest just two and take kickbacks to ignore the others.  Along comes "Yankee Hank" (Bill Pullman) and his wife Yon Green (Jacqueline Kim) who secure fifteen thousand dollars from Darlene's father to work the Thai legal system and get them out.  Hank's attempts fail, as does an escape attempt and the girls are sentenced to a total of fourth eight years each.

The relationship between the two girls rises and ebbs as they blame each other for loading the heroin into the luggage.  In typical jail fashion, there are roaches, rats and stool pigeons they must deal with.  But the overall jail experience is very mild and without drama.  Except for living in crowded conditions, they appear none-the-less for the wear and they are fed decent food including fruit if they work for it.  The parents apparently give up after the first attempt at release, but Hank makes one more attempt by challenging a corrupt Thai detective.  No one attempts to use the political influence of the United States to free the girls.

With no real tension or danger facing the pair, few maneuvers available in the legal system and no political action by the parents, the fine performances by Beckinsale and Danes fail to excite any interest.  Brokedown Palace, quickly breaks down.

Brokedown Palace


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