The Killing Fields

Director: Roland Joffé
Year Released: 1984
Rating: 2.0

Yet another film about an American staying a war-torn country, like Stone's Salvador or Weir's The Year of Living Dangerously, in which filmmakers with a political bent like showing non-capitalist countries going absolutely ape-shit, murdering and killing everyone in their sight, giving you a smirking sense of comfort and peace while sitting in your recliner sipping a Corona that when you leave your house you won't be shot. Sam Waterston plays a New York Times representative in Cambodia, where he and his guide, Dinh Pran, record the atrocities of the post-Vietnam strife and America's questionable morality. Preachy to the point of being unbearable, this document of non-stop torment sets out to rub-your-face-in-the-truth, but never comes off as being persuasive, merely irritating. The film literally splits in the middle, awkwardly changing the perspective from Waterston to Pran's story, as he escapes from prison-like conditions. His story is infinitely more intriguing than that of the outraged Waterston, and the first hour should have been knocked off completely (or it should have been told from Pran's side only). Actually, cropping the first hour would have been a wise decision, as the film is entirely too long as is, and grossly overrated because of the intended sympathy generated by the grotesque imagery.