3 May 2005 | roland-sinn
Solid Telemovie about an uncomfortable subject
Judy Dench plays a secretive English lady who observes the chaos of the final days of democratic government in Saigon. The subject matter is uncomfortable to watch; perhaps more so today than when the film was released, as parallels can be drawn between Vietnam and Iraq. The films begs the question: Has the US and it's allies learned anything in 30 years about international relations.
As a film Saigon is solid more so due to the subject matter being strong than the direction and script, which are pretty bland. The story moves at a decent pace and the climax is both powerful and pathetic as bewildered and semi drunk characters are suddenly forced from apathetic complacency to action.
One of the central problems with the film is that it doesn't feel like it has a strong emotional soul. Judy's character feels too detached to her surroundings, and life in general. She's a woman of mysterious yes, but there isn't any real attempt to dig beneath her cool exterior. I also felt like I didn't get a true inside account of what actually happened in the lead up to that fateful day in 1975. I needed more information about what was happening at the time politically and socially to both the Vietnamese and the Americans in and around Saigon.
It's a story that should be re-made with better production values, but it held my interest throughout. 6/10