“Here, only the silent survive”

Review by Lewis Goodall

To all dictators out there… you good? Or more appropriately am I good? I want to know because if you invade the UK, I need to know I fit in with your requirements and don’t taint the gene pool. Just let us know, leave a comment and I can send you a photo of my face along with medical history. I’m just trying to get on your good side, don’t want to end up with a plastic bag over my head so lemme know.

The Killing Fields, directed by Roland Joffé, depicts a war torn Cambodia where journalist, Sydney (Sam Waterston) is trapped during dictator Pol Pot’s genocide of the Cambodian people.

You want a realistic war film? Watch this. This film looks like a really well paced documentary with all its components coming together making it just seems so real. The cinematography grabs my attention straight away, it grabbed my attention, stood in front of me and shook it in front of my face. I don’t know what it was but there was something about the type of film they used, It just gave the film a different feel to normal films, one of those things that hard to explain in words but it hit different. That matched with stunning angles just made this film very easy watching, which is a contrast to watch you’re actually watching which was pretty horrible.

So this film takes place during a mass genocide, not really a Saturday night sit down with the family. The very realistic style of filming matched with the real events that happened in Cambodia made this quite a harrowing two hour twenty minute watch. The film doesn’t just focus on the mass killings, but more on the friendship between the journalist Sydney and his translator, Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor). The two of them making their way through the ruins of Cambodia while attempting to document whats happening is fantastic to watch.

Weirdly with the long run time of the film, I wish they added a bit more backstory into their friendship and also the overall events. Maybe I missed some details but if the back of the box didn’t mention Pol Pot I would’ve just thought this was a generic war film. This might just be me, I might’ve missed some details but I’m not blaming me, i’m pushing the blame on the god awful music.

Its not all awful, sometimes the music is beautiful and really accentuates ( we’ve got a bigger budget for bigger words if you can tell) the emotions in the scene. So ill give it that but there was also some music used throughout that was so distracting and annoying that would make a chicken purposefully not lay eggs just so it would take an axe to the neck. It just cheapened the experience in parts that are meant to be nail biting, so when you have a film thats incredibley realistic with everything and then you have this annoying synths going, its a wee bit distracting.

Overall, apart from the music, this film is one of the most realistic depictions of a war i’ve seen. Everything comes together to make it super impactful. It didn’t get me but this’ll be a tear jerker for many people. Plus John Malkovich is in it so if you weren’t sold already, there you go.

8 Cow Juice Cartons out of 10

The Killing Fields

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