I know a lot of people won’t understand why I said I did it. But, for me, it was the right thing to do. Maybe more right than anything I’ve ever done before. And I know Darlene and Hank will never stop trying, til I’m out of here. Until I’m free. -Alice
Brokedown Palace (1999)
Posted By Heather On 24 Jan 2009. Under 1999, 2.5 Stars (Noteworthy), Drama Tags: Adam Fields, Brokedown Palace, Claire Danes, David Arata, Jonathon Kaplan, Kate Beckinsale, Lou Diamond Phillips, Paul Walker, Pill Pullman
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, drug related material and some violent content.
Directed By: Jonathon Kaplan
Written By: Adam Fields and David Arata
Staring: Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Bill Pullman, and Lou Diamond Phillips
Two young American girls are framed for drug smuggling in Thailand and receive life sentences.
The first viewing of Brokedown Palace came across as very poignant to me, but at the time I was the exact age of the two main stars. Nearly ten years later watching it again, it didn’t register nearly as strongly as it’s original viewing. The structure of the film itself is solid, the main character’s being free spirited youths is clearly emoted, but enough attention to both girls individual personalities is also developed strongly. These are key factors in building a connection from viewer to character’s in the coming scenes, but this time around I didn’t feel that connection as strongly.
Being eighteen you see the world threw entirely different eyes, the sense that you are finally adult and can conquer the world. The flip side is you have no real experience as an adult in the real world and when faced with the adult world consequences, suddenly you are blind and lost. Brokedown Palace took that mentality and exploited it in a worse case scenario. It may have had a surface story, but the underlying warning to those in that age group, that one mistake could cost you everything, was clear and present. Now having moved passed the naivete of Danes and Beckinsales character’s, my jaded and adult mind immediately felt the need to smack some sense into the girls when initially I was happily along for their ride of freedom.
The contrast in this feeling left a greater sense of detachment to their imprisonment scenes and I found myself relating to the supporting characters, being the friends who visited, the father, and even the attorney played exquisitely by Pullman, rather than the girls. It actually gave me a greater respect for the movie, because it made it tangible to all audiences rather than what the first half an hour made me think it was a “teen movie”. Perhaps it wasn’t as easy to access from the girls perspectives now, but the outside character’s struggles became enough to care about them and the story in an entirely different way.
Watching the movie from this different perspective was perplexing to me. Frankly, it didn’t change my opinion as much to whether or not it was a better or worse movie than the first viewing. I felt pretty much about the same about it as the first time, but the way I viewed it was so incredibly different, it makes me wonder about other movies. This was a decent paced story, with a compelling plot, and some seriously engaging performances by Danes, Beckinsale, and Pullman that really delved into the human psyche. There was certainly more to it than a superficial cover. It’s two sided perspective has inspired me to wait another ten years and see how I feel about it. Definitely worth waiting.