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THE QUIET AMERICAN (2002) Rather than Adrien Brody, it was Michael Caine who deserved the Best Actor Oscar for his work in this second screen adaptation of a Graham Greene novel whose ideas seem perpetually topical. Caine stars as Thomas Fowler, a London Times journalist stationed in Saigon in the 1950s; his strong relationship with a gorgeous Vietnamese woman (Do Thi Hai Yen) encounters some unexpected turbulence with the arrival of Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), an idealistic American who makes no bones about the fact that he's fallen instantly in love with Fowler's young sweetheart. Director Phillip Noyce, who was two-for-two last year (having also helmed Rabbit-Proof Fence), has crafted a smart piece of entertainment that works equally well on the personal and political fronts, placing a complex love triangle at the center of a sobering dissertation that questions the US's continuous policy of meddling in other countries' affairs. DVD features include audio commentary by Noyce, Caine, Fraser and others, a making-of piece, three book reviews (written back in the day) of Greene's novel, and an excellent Vietnam Timeline that charts the country's turbulent history. Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

-- Matt Brunson

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