Private: “Quiet American” and trip to Philly

After several days of holiday-inspired sloth (joined in by my sister), Max and I emerged from our apartment to see “The Quiet American” last night.

I’m a Graham Greene fanatic, so I’m typically underwhelmed, if not downright offended, by film adaptations of his work. But I was impressed with this one. (Max liked it, too, although he thought it got off to a slow start.)

Michael Caine turns in a fantastic, understated performance as a British news correspondent without an opinion on Vietnam’s future. And while some critics have questioned Brendan Fraser’s performance, I thought his wide-eyed American shtick made lots of sense by the end. His character was a little grating, but intentionally so. (The boisterous dog was a nice touch.)

Among other things, the film is a timely commentary on U.S. and British imperialism. In fact, Anthony Lane suggests in The New Yorker that Miramax was fearful of releasing the film because it might be perceived as “anti-American.” It doesn’t appear to have an incredibly wide release, and it remains to be seen how the press will react now that Vietnam has praised the film, calling it a “‘progressive movie’ about American imperialism in Southeast Asia,” so do see it before it’s gone.

Incidentally, Max and I are officially celebrating our anniversary with a trip to Philadelphia in two weeks. We’re staying downtown, at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Recommendations for food & fun, anyone?

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