REVIEW: BROKEDOWN PALACE

CAST

Claire Danes (Termiantor 3)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Bill Pullman (Lost Highway)
Jacqueline Kim (Star Trek: Generations)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
John Doe (Roswell)

Brokedown Palace has an intriguing premise: two best friends (Kate Beckinsale and Claire Danes) fresh from high school are on their summer vacation in Thailand, but are arrested for possession of narcotics, found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in a women’s prison.

Bill Pullman also stars in the picture as an American lawyer named Hank Greene, who feels for the girls’ plight and fights to prove their innocence. But the real focus is on Beckinsale and Danes, whose wonderful performances are the anchor to the film’s drama and moral quandaries. Beckinsale’s Darlene is the more reserved and quieter of the two, the kind of person who sort of follows her friend without question, and certainly not the type to take unwarranted risks (unless her friend persuades her to). She’s almost a direct opposite of Danes’ Alice, whose outgoing and semi-rebellious behavior is the indirect link to their current troubles.The film slinks to melodrama in its climactic moments, but still rings true thanks to the tour-de-force turns from Beckinsale and Danes. It’s an open-ended question as to whether or not either of the girls committed the crime of smuggling narcotics, and such ambiguity might upset some, but I liked not knowing for certain, and it’s not as if it makes the final scenes any less believable.

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