Movie Review: The Quiet American 2002
The movie “The Quiet American” is based from the novel of Graham Greene that discusses love and betrayal. The 2002 version of the movie is one that stayed true to the original version of Graham Greene. It takes place at Saigon, Vietnam during the Indo-China war between the French communist and the Vietminh. A veteran British journalist for the London Times named Thomas Fowler came to Saigon to cover stories all about politics while enjoying the rich culture of Vietnam. Having spent years in Saigon, he found a young and beautiful Vietnamese woman whom he fell deeply in love with, later on he lived with her. Their relationship blossomed but there was something that Fowler could not do for Phuong, and that is to offer her marriage because he did not reveal to Phuong that he was still married to a catholic woman in London and did not believe in divorce that was why he cannot marry again. Later on, a young American doctor by the name of Alden Pyle showed up and said that his business in Vietnam was to offer medical aid during the war. Later on, he fell in love with Fowler’s mistress Phuong.
As the story progressed, Fowler discovered that Pyle was not really in Saigon to offer help but was a CIA agent who found out about the involvement of the United States in the war. Because Fowler was faced with a threat of losing his mistress to a young American, and to protect his love from the young American who had betrayed not only him but also the land that Phuong lives in, he decided to take the life of Pyle in his own hands. At the end, the wife of Fowler finally gave him the divorce papers, but it was too late. Phuong did not want to continue her relationship with him even though Pyle was dead because she declared that she finally felt what love is from Pyle and not from Fowler. Though Phuong did not know about Fowler’s contribution to the death of Pyle, she still chose not to have a relationship with Fowler. In the end, after all the betrayal and attempts to save the woman that he loved, Fowler ended up a failure.
More than just a love triangle amongst the three characters, “The Quiet American” is a revelation of the involvement of America in a war that was already happening in Vietnam. The main theme of the movie more than romance is betrayal. The movie showed how the Americans betrayed the trust given to them by the people of Saigon. The people believed that they were to offer help, but what nobody knew was their hidden agenda in the involvement in the war in Vietnam. The movie exposed issues that were happening in Vietnam during the war and the effects of the betrayal of the Americans on them.
Betrayal could be viewed in a different context. In the movie there was betrayal in love and against the people of Vietnam. There was betrayal in love because of the lies by Fowler to his mistress Phuong and betrayal against the people of Vietnam as portrayed in the character of Pyle who betrayed the trust given to him by the people. Truly, betrayal offers nothing good and beautiful in the end.