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The Lady [Blu-ray]
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Luc Besson directs this biopic about Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, played in the film by Michelle Yeoh. Suu Kyi spent almost 15 years under house arrest for leading a non-violent uprising against Burma's long-standing military dictatorship. With the unwavering support of her husband, Oxford academic Michael Aris (David Thewlis), Suu Kyi sacrifices the peace and security of family life in England to lead the struggle to bring democracy to her native country, and put an end to the violence, corruption and human rights abuses that have come to characterise Burmese politics.
Director Luc Besson proves for the umpteenth time that he’s not one to be restricted by genre with The Lady. It’s a film that tells the real life story of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel-prize winning campaigner who fought for democracy in Burma. The film starts back in her childhood, before picking up with her happily married in England. By this time, she’s played by Michelle Yeoh, with David Thewlis stepping into the shoes of her husband.
Events conspire to take her back to Burma, though, and The Lady then concerns itself as much with the separation of husband and wife as it does the political situation. That makes it a bumpy film, and sometimes an unfocused one. Yet Besson’s intentions are so strong, and his meticulous detail so obvious, that the film’s issues are easy to forgive. Furthermore, Michelle Yeoh clearly devoted herself to the lead role, comfortably giving the best performance of her career. David Thewlis? He’s excellent, too, as always.
There’s clearly a better film to be made out of the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, but that doesn’t make The Lady a bad one. What’s more, thanks to Yeoh’s magnificent central turn, even in its weaker moments, there’s usually something of interest happening. The Lady has problems, certainly, but it has some genuine ambition, too. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
What might in the hands of a less skilled director have turned into a political polemic, or worse, a worthy but uninvolving biopic, has become under Besson's skilled direction a truly great film with a strong storyline and real emotional power. The action see-saws between Suu's struggles against the regime in Burma and Michael's safe, suburban academic life in Oxford, highlighting his unquestioning support for her decision even though it means she is absent from her children growing through adolescence, and of course from him. Whilst stopping short of doing Suu actual harm because her high public profile would bring down the outrage of the international community, the military regime does everything possible to make her leave Burma `voluntarily' - but she refuses to go, knowing that if she were to leave, new laws would be framed by the regime to ensure she would never be allowed back and she could be far less effective outside the country.
The audience is not spared graphic images of the horrors perpetrated by the Burmese regime. The violence however is in no way gratuitous, but essential to the action and to the story.Read more ›
The cinematography and visual quality of this film are top notch. The film stays true to the historical events without over dramatizing anything. It would have been nice if the director had included the 1996 attack on Aung San's motorcade, though, as this would have given the film some additional drama while still being true to historical events.
My main issue with the film (and perhaps why it didnt become as famous as other biopics) is the rather lacklustre film soundtrack. Sure, the main theme is really nicely done, but the rest of the music used in the film is very generic stuff that doesn't leave any lasting impression. Had Luc Besson hired a composer of renown, like Hans Zimmer (remember his soundtrack for Pearl Harbor?), James Horner, Vangelis, or even Mike Oldfields who composed the score for The Killing Fields, would have done this film more justice. Because always remember: the soundtrack can make or break a film. Lord of the Rings without Howard Shore is simply not the same.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As I'm going to Burma in October I bought this to get a feeling for the country and Aung San Suu Kyi and I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bengie
Excellent movie I saw several years ago, but being a technophobe wanted a dvd rather than diwnload movie.Published 4 months ago by chippie
I only knew Aung San Suu Kyi as the Nobel price winner from Burma but this film shows the other side of Suu. As a daughter, as a woman, as a wife and mother. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer