This film requires more than one view to pick up subtleties in the stories. The parallel story of a British reporter, Thomas Fowler, brilliantly portrayed by Michael Caine, his mistress Phuong (Do Thi Ha Yen), and her predicament, as well the overall quagmire that was Indo-China, American interference, and later Vietnam.
It is filmed with illusory, tropical backdrops to a scene of hundreds of recently murdered citizens, noted "probably killed by just another faction" by a fellow war correspondent of Fowler's.
The sets are realistic without being overwrought (i.e. Platoon). The story has a soft side to Caine's character and his love for Phuong, and the desires of an older man to find final happiness, in a sense. He remarks to Brendan Fraser (Alden Pyle, a US intelligence agent, posing as a physician treating Trychoma), that if he were to lose Phuong it would be the end of his life. The problem is his British wife is Catholic and refuses divorce. This would not be a very valid reason these days.
Caine is excellent, giving a voice over finessed view of war torn Vietnam, the tragedies of staged bombings, and his impressions of what "the story behind the story" here is.
The visuals are trans formative, and we see a new dictator, General The (secretly being funded by US ), who interviews with Fowler about his visions for a "new Vietnam" Neither the French Colonialists nor the Communists can "fix " it. So what then?.
It is nice that this is left as an open ended question leaving the audience to have to THINK. Graham Greene is an excellent author and one must read the book which this film encapsulates. Highly recommended. 10/10.
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