I know this is an old film, but I have decided to review it any way, since I found it fascinating. It is about the Cambodian Massacres in the 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge were taking over the country, with Pol Pot's communist and totalitarian regime. It shows the effects of Communism, how it takes away personality, deprives people of feeling, and led to the starvation and horrific killing of nearly 2 million civilians. But it does not take sides, it seems to laud equal criticism on the United States for their interference in the Vietnam War, and their decision to invade Cambodia, proliferating the already tragic conflict.
Though it was quite long and seemed to drag on in parts, the film is informative and shocking. On the synopsis I read, it said that a journalist was looking for his friend and Cambodian translator, but this does not happen for about an hour into the film, into which I can not remember much, it is the last hour and 20 minutes which really sticks in the mind.
It would have been especially shocking when it was released, in 1984, which was less than a decade after the conflict was taking place, and when the characters were still alive and were well-known to the American public. It represents anti-imperialism, is anti-war, and celebrated friendship and struggle through adversity. It is a story still poignant today, with conflicts happened more recently, in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, the DRC, Sudan and Somalia. It could also be used as a counterweight to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been seen as conflicts for oil and for Western supremacy.
Parts of it will make you want to cry. But you will be reassured to know that it has a happy ending, so their friendship is put through the trial of imprisonment, running away and eventually getting in to freedom.