Graham Greene's 1955 novel The Quiet American sets a tale of romance, intrigue, and covert machinations during the final days of France's colonial adventure — and the beginning of the United States' involvement — in Vietnam. Australian director Phillip Noyce brings the book to vivid life in a screen adaptation that sadly has spent nearly a year sitting on the shelf. In the post-September 11 world, its critical view of American imperialism was deemed somehow inappropriate. That's a shame, because one of the hallmarks of a healthy society is its willingness to self-critique and re-examine the ugliest chapters of its history. The Quiet American does both in superior fashion.
Michael Caine plays Thomas Fowler, a reporter for a London newspaper. He is completely taken with Vietnam — its tropical beauty, its opium, and most of all by one of its citizens, his young mistress Phoung (Do Thi Hai Yen). He has no intention of ever returning home, even though it's a dangerous time to be in Saigon — the armed struggle between Communist rebels and the occupying French are increasingly impinging on daily life, making Fowler's job more and more risky.
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