An impressive film from director Philip Noyce, The Quiet American
proves that elegant and intelligent film-making can be emotionally powerful. Michael Caine plays Thomas Fowler, a British journalist in 1950s Vietnam with a lovely Vietnamese mistress named Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) and a jaded view of the political strife teeming around him. He befriends a seemingly innocuous American named Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), who falls in love with Phuong--and slowly, Pyle's real purpose in Vietnam becomes revealed. Fowler finds that, to hold on to the carefully balanced life he's created for himself, he must make choices he's long avoided. Caine and Fraser are both superb and give a human face to complicated politics; as a result, The Quiet American
manages to be compelling as both history and a story about very specific people embroiled in a very personal conflict. --Bret Fetzer
Phillip Noyce's adaptation of the novel by Graham Greene (also adapted in 1958 by Joseph L. Mankiewicz) was initially due for release in 2001 but held back after the events of 9/11, due to its critical view of the US role in Vietnam during the 1950s. British journalist Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine), who is covering the initial events that led to the Indo-China war in 1952, comes under suspicion of murder when the body of a young American, Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), is found floating in the river. Their story is told in flashback, as the American arrives in Vietnam, apparently to provide medical aid in the war. However, Pyle is not who he first appears to be...