This is an excellent film of a true story: that of the rape of East Timor and the fatal ordeal that a group of Australian journalists went through to get the story out. It is so frightening and sad that I found it hard to watch. The story begins with a young government official, who contacts a freelance journalist he admires. The journalist is kind of a burnt out case, longing for an easier time of it and reluctant to pursue a story in the Indonesian jungle. The official cajoles him, entices him, and lays a guilt trip on him to come, which he eventually agrees to do.
The journalist is immediately struck with the potential of a story about a team of young idealists who disappeared 3 weeks before, when apparently Indonesian security forces began to take over the recently liberated Portuguese colony (in 1975). His concentrates on the plight of his compatriots enrages and disgusts the official, who wants him to cover the story from the point of view of the country that is being swallowed by violence and a new bid to own it as a colony. They go on a long, rough trek into the interior, get shot at, and meet a number of courageous rebels. Parallel to this investigation, they story of the journalists is shown as if happening at the same time. They are beautiful young men, full of ideals and potential, their lives just getting started, their talents only beginning to bloom.
While I do not wish to spoil the plot, the film rolls out with a relentless realism. The older journalist discovers what happened to them and is shocked at what he witnesses, including the murder before his eyes of a rebel who had become a friend. He then accepts his duty as a journalist to tell the entire story. It is believable and inspiring. It is also a true story. The young diplomat goes into exile, eventually winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
If you are interested in contemporary history, this is a must see film. I will share it with my children, who are becoming interested in world politics. The acting in this is very strong.