Brokedown Palace
(1999)











Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 Hour and 40 Minutes


Reviewer: Jones
Grade: F

A few months ago I caught the last fifteen minutes of this film and I must admit I found it intriguing. It actually made me curious about watching the film in it's entirety. So when the opportunity arose, I thought it seemed like a good idea.

What a mistake that was!

The rest of the film was so pathetic that it took any sort of hope, that I ever found in those final fifteen minutes, and flushed it down the toilet.

"Brokedown Palace" is the misbegotten tale of two high school graduates, who have been attached at the hip since birth, that feel that a trip somewhere is just what they need before college life separates them in the fall. Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale put faces on these much maligned souls who, instead of going to Hawaii as originally planned, decide that Thailand, of all places, is where they will find a good time. Now is it just me, or does this sound retarded already. Of all the places for two teenage girls to go in the world they choose Thailand! I guess the best one can say is that at least they didn't choose Singapore, but then again maybe that would have made the remainder of the film more enjoyable. At least I would have had the pleasure of watching two spoiled brats being caned simply for being Americans.

The fun doesn't end with the trip to Thailand. Hell, I don't know if the fun ever even begins at any point in this film. Our two joyless friends make their way to Thailand and while there manage to get set up for smuggling drugs by a faux Prince Charming who had done a little displaced American deflowering the night before to worm his way into the good graces of our two female friends.

Apparently they don't take too kindly to drug smuggling in Thailand, because our friends end up in some sort of pseudo San Quentin with a sentence of thirty-three years apiece. Just when you thought the film was over Bill Pullman shows up in a valiant attempt to lend class to the film as a seedy American lawyer by the name of Hank Green. If there are any bright moments to speak of they are the ones that contain Pullman and even with his presence the scenes are tolerable at best.

With Hank on the case the film meanders through the remainder of it's plot on it's way to showing us whether or not the girls will get to go home. There's only one problem with that. I could have given less than a shit whether they got to go home, or had to stay in Thailand eating pickled pig feet for the next thirty-three years. Now that I think about it I think I would prefer the latter of the two simply because they deserve to go through that sort of misery for making this tainted piece of trash. Whether or not that is the result of the film is something you will have to find out on your own, if you dare. Or you can just e-mail me and I'll let you know, because I feel it is my duty to keep people from making the mistake of watching this film if at all possible.

It is pathetic for many reasons, but first and foremost is the combination of direction and editing or the lack thereof. This film is paced about as well as a sewer worker's colon after seeing one too many lactose intolerant constituent's bowel movements. One minute you're here and the next you're there with no clue how you got from point a to point b. This sort of thing can work in a better movie, but it sure as hell doesn't work here. This film was pretty much doomed from the get-go with it's less than inspiring premise to build off of. It could have been a decent film had the director taken the time and effort to make me care about the two damsels in distress. Usually I would care about Claire Danes simply because she is Claire Danes, but in this case I was actually hoping she would suffer some horrific fate. I didn't really wish the same for Kate Beckinsale for two reasons: I hadn't seen her in anything before and she's already been damned into being in "Pearl Harbor" which can't be good for her career. I figure she's been through enough and I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on this one. The only person I gave a crap about was Bill Pullman's character. And you know what? I only cared, because he is Bill Pullman. He's better than this sort of nonsense. I cared because I wanted to see him make it out of this film with his career intact. Thankfully he has, because I know that he has been able to obtain work since this pile was dumped into the colon of the autonomous collective we call Hollywood.

If you need know anything more about the pathetic state of this film, know this: Lou Diamond Phillips has a role in it. Now that's sad. I think the only time I laughed throughout the whole film was when I first saw his sorry face pop up on the screen. I didn't know people still considered him marketable or employable for that matter.

After seeing this rank pile, I doubt any level-headed studio executive will make that mistake again. At least I hope so for your sake as well as my own.

View this broken down nag of a movie at your own risk.