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4.5 out of 5 stars29
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 28 June 2005
"The Year of Living Dangerously" is a film that is felt as well as seen; the steaming heat and stench of the hovel lined streets, the torrential rains, and the confusion and fear of being in the middle of a revolutionary coup become very real on a sensory level. Taking place during the Sukarno regime in 1965 Indonesia, it is also a marvelous love story, and the chemistry between Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson is palpable. There are many scenes that are as if we are glimpsing a private, intimate moment, and they are both such a stunningly attractive pair.
Linda Hunt, playing a cross-gender role of a Chinese/Indonesian news photographer, won many Best Supporting Actress awards, among them the Oscar, for her superb performance as Billy. Billy sets the stage for the characters in this political thriller, using the people around him in the same way that he guides the intricate shadow puppets he is so fond of. When Guy Hamilton (Gibson) gets transferred to Jakarta as a reporter for an Australian newspaper, Billy shows him the ropes, making sure he meets beautiful British embassy attaché Jill (Weaver), knowing that love between them will be inevitable.
A brilliant re-teaming of Gibson, director Peter Weir, and cinematographer Russell Boyd, from the 1981 masterpiece "Gallipoli", this is an equally extraordinary film in its own way, and both films are works of art that get better with each viewing. Unfortunately, the recent releases of this film, whether on VHS or DVD, are of inferior quality, and do not have the clarity or color reproduction of an old VHS I used to own. Nevertheless, even a less than perfect transfer is better than nothing, and still worth owning.
Filmed in the Philippines and Australia, it has an atmospheric score by Maurice Jarre, which includes an excerpt from Vangelis' "Opera Sauvage". Total running time is 115 minutes.
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on 16 December 2011
Don't be put off by the Spanish cover text, the disc plays in English fine. This is one of those films that everyone should have in their collection, some really amazing and understated performances by some of the finest acting talent of the 20th century...
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on 22 January 2012
This is indeed a great film, and was adapted from the J C koch book it addresses aspects on all levels such as emotion tension and chemistry and above all the aura and feel of Indonesia, the acting is superb and Mel Gibson was at his best around this period The Bounty Mad max etc.
Ignore the stupidity of the review which states that this story was set in a fictional city, Jakarta is of course not a fictional city, no its the capital city of Java Indonesia, This along with the Bounty are among Gibson's greatest films
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on 2 June 2013
Have contacted the seller -- this is described as having "full original English audio" but mine appears only to play in badly dubbed Spanish. (If you just hit Play, that's what you get.) No details either on playing DVD, or on box, as to how to make it play in English.

I have asked the seller "if this can be played in English, please tell me how." I will return and revise this review according to the results of that.

LATEST -- have received INSTRUCTIONS and watched this with the original English soundtrack. How you do it is: when the menu comes up, select Idiomas, then Ingles. It's a good film, surprisingly faithful to the book (except the ludicrously inappropriate casting of the two main characters), but the process of getting to the English soundtrack is a pain. However, the price does not reflect that.
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on 13 September 2014
One of the early masterpieces by Peter Weir. A courageous and powerful, yet also poetic and visionary film set during the terrible year of the coup d'etat in Indonesia, when a fragile democracy turned into one of the most atrocius dictatorships of all times. Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver are as beautiful as ever in their career, but it's the amazing and touching performance by Linda Hall, Oscar for best male performance (although being an actress) and the visionary script and direction by Peter Weir that turn a political film into a chant of freedom and human feelings (solitude, love, drama, memories) that give us that sense of wonder and mystery which made Peter Weir such a unique director, no matter what genre, story or topic he bases his films on. When Hollywood was still capable of delivering cinema milestones
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HALL OF FAMEon 21 December 2005
Peter Weir's film 'The Year of Living Dangerously' was shown at a campus film festival during my first year as an undergraduate (a few years after Linda Hunt had won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a male character), sponsored by the departments of political science, journalism, and East Asian studies.
The setting is 1965, Djakarta, during a time when Southeast Asia was high on the scope of European radar and coming into more prominence for American eyes. Indonesia was (and is) a big country, with population and resources (both underutilised) the envy of East and West.
The dictator Sukarno was playing a dangerous game trying the balance the two, internally as well as in foreign affairs. In the end, it did not pay off for him, and Indonesia has only recently begun to work at achieving a prominence a resource-rich, 100+ million populated country can attain.
Into this tight-rope situation dropped Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson), of the Australian Broadcasting Service, a fresh-faced journalist out to make a mark for himself, sabotaged by his predecessor and professionally ignored by other Western journalists (who had their own headline-deadlines to meet). However, a strange American/Chinese man, Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt), befriends him, and attempts to help him both professionally, personally, and spiritually.
Billy takes Guy on a trip through the slums of Djakarta, preaching Tolstoy, charity and compassion, and tries to get Guy to see beyond the headlines. Billy also introduces Guy to Jill (Sigourney Weaver), a British agent planning to leave Djakarta.
The tale wanders through politics, personal strife and decision-making, and the beginnings of revolution, climaxing with Billy putting his words into action and suffering a martyr's fate trying to get Sukarno's attention for the suffering poor, and Jill and Guy making a mad dash for the airport before the runways are closed.
Those of us with benefit of hindsight know that Guy could have stayed, the communist PKI in fact did not succeed, and he could have continued to write articles and make a mark. But that would not have been as romantic.
This movie is one of contrasts--the elegance of a British Embassy cocktail party contrasted with the poverty of the native Javanese; the cooperation of Billy against the ignoring of the other professionals; the native spirituality (which isn't exploited nearly enough) against the materialistic West (made worse when adopted by a native such as Sukarno). The music from Vangelis is an interesting accompaniment (remember Chariots of Fire?) and the cinematography grand in many cases. But subtlety abounds here--you may miss much the first time through.
This is an atypical Weir film (but of course, that may be an oxymoron, for is there a 'typical' Weir film?). Australian, but it doesn't always seem so; artistic, but it doesn't always seem so--there are many such attributes. Weir always tries to inject meaning into his films in many ways -- the injection didn't quite take in every way in this film, and some meanings are a bit overdone, but overall, there is a good balance.
This is not an action film (despite occasionally being categorised in this group). If you're looking for bombs bursting in air, look elsewhere.
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on 4 May 2015
I found this an interesting and very well put together story of an inexperienced Australian Radio Foreign Correspondent Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) being used, admittedly for his advantage, by a secretive photo journalist in Indonesia during the six week period leading up to the events on Indonesia of 30 September 1965. The story follows a group of foreign journalists in Jakarta as they try and gain stories from the Indonesian Government during the height of the Indonesian Confrontation (Confrontation not being mentioned). He is firstly pushed and then falls deeply in love with a British Embassy employee Jill Bryant (Sigourney Weaver). The interaction between Bryant and Hamilton, although it gets off to a shaky start explodes, and I felt the two of them are very good together. There are the terrible repercussions of the failed coup and Hamilton finally realizes he needs Bryant. Linda Hunt's portrayal of the secretive photo journalist, Billy Kwan is also excellent.

"L'Enfant", a track from Vangelis' 1979 album Opera sauvage, is the highlighted music featured in the film. This fits in very well with Hamilton and Bryant.
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on 1 December 2014
A thought-provoking film set in Sukarno's unsettled Indonesia during that nation's confrontation of the newly-formed Malaysia in the mid-1960s. Very few people in Britain seem to be aware that a small war was fought at that time but, having been involved myself in a barely significant way, I can confirm that this film has captured the atmosphere (and the humidity!) of the period.
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on 26 January 2012
THE "V.I.Ps" is a great film for lovers of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, made quickly on the back of their much publized affair film "CLEOPATRA". Its basically just a melodrama as you would see on TV these days, set in an airport. It has a good supporting cast, including the brilliant Margaret Rutherford, who won an oscar for best supporting actress in her role as the much muddled Duchess of Brighton. As a fan of the 2 main stars I would recommend this film to anyone.
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on 7 April 2013
With a marvellously talented Margaret Rutherford...love the woman for her talent,combined with Liz,talent and beauty...never can get enough of those movies
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