The Killing Fields

Film

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Time Out says

Though it gradually turns into a somewhat sentimental buddy movie, with NY journo Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) longing for news of Dith Pran (Ngor), the Cambodian aide he left behind to suffer the horrors of the Khmer Rouge after the fall of Pnomh Penh in 1975, this is still very much a superior look at one country's troubles in the wake of American involvement in South East Asia. The first hour, sprawling, chaotic and violently messy, is very good indeed, conveying both the complexity and the essential absurdity of war, while the photography by Chris Menges is stunningly convincing in detailing the scale of the carnage. The use of Lennon's 'Imagine' at the end is a severe error of judgment, but the film's overall thrust - angry, intelligent, compassionate - makes this producer Puttnam's finest movie to date.
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Release details

UK release:

1984

Duration:

142 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

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Odgred Weary

I still see every day how much this country suffers because of your bombs, Steve, because I live over here...>> Just because you live there doesn't mean you know jack. Nixon didn't train the leaders of the K-Rouge in communism and bogo-existentialist bullshit a la' Proust, Heidegger and Sartre; the loser post-Vichy French intellectuals did. Kissinger didn't form the party cadres; the Vietnamese did, with the help of the above pseudo-intellectual genocidal monsters who formed the K-Rouge. The American bombs didn't teach twelve year old boys to machine gun little old ladies; Saloth Sar and his band of leftist intellectual losers did. The American multinational corporations didn't empty the cities. The U.S. Air Force didn't starve people to death for living in cities. The American Army didn't shoot people with glasses. Yeah, you can see the damage American bombs did. But you can't see the damage that the Khmer Rouge did, because all they left behind were the bones of the dead in national monuments. Have you gone to one of those lately? And don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. I've seen genocide close up too--leftist genocide--as genocide ALWAYS has been this last hundred years. Thank you for not blaming the United States. We were trying to stop what happened; the fact that we failed, and NOT the fact that we tried, is ultimately our guilt.

Odgred Weary

I still see every day how much this country suffers because of your bombs, Steve, because I live over here...>> Just because you live there doesn't mean you know jack. Nixon didn't train the leaders of the K-Rouge in communism and bogo-existentialist bullshit a la' Proust, Heidegger and Sartre; the loser post-Vichy French intellectuals did. Kissinger didn't form the party cadres; the Vietnamese did, with the help of the above pseudo-intellectual genocidal monsters who formed the K-Rouge. The American bombs didn't teach twelve year old boys to machine gun little old ladies; Saloth Sar and his band of leftist intellectual losers did. The American multinational corporations didn't empty the cities. The U.S. Air Force didn't starve people to death for living in cities. The American Army didn't shoot people with glasses. Yeah, you can see the damage American bombs did. But you can't see the damage that the Khmer Rouge did, because all they left behind were the bones of the dead in national monuments. Have you gone to one of those lately? And don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. I've seen genocide close up too--leftist genocide--as genocide ALWAYS has been this last hundred years. Thank you for not blaming the United States. We were trying to stop what happened; the fact that we failed, and NOT the fact that we tried, is ultimately our guilt.

BYRON AT THE BIJOU

Steve you are out to lunch ! I call this film a must see , if it does not move you , possibly to tears , then you have embalming fluid in your veins . This is a story that illustrates the best and the worst in our society . The fact that it happened is shocking enough , and what the Cambodian people suffered still makes me wince . It as a film captures the tension and the awful sense of foreboding ,that we know innocent apolitical people are going to suffer greatly . The acting is compelling , and Ngor won a well deserved Oscar , only to be killed , by a street gang in Los Angeles . I only wish there were more stories like this !

BYRON AT THE BIJOU

Steve you are out to lunch ! I call this film a must see , if it does not move you , possibly to tears , then you have embalming fluid in your veins . This is a story that illustrates the best and the worst in our society . The fact that it happened is shocking enough , and what the Cambodian people suffered still makes me wince . It as a film captures the tension and the awful sense of foreboding ,that we know innocent apolitical people are going to suffer greatly . The acting is compelling , and Ngor won a well deserved Oscar , only to be killed , by a street gang in Los Angeles . I only wish there were more stories like this !

Steve

I only got around to watching the Killing Fields in 2007. I was fully aware of the brutal Khmer Rouge and what had happened to Cambodia. This movie should have left the viewer with an absolute disgust with all things communist. But instead the movie blames America for the slaughter! We bomb Cambodia because they have Vietnamese bases there and some how this allows the Khmer Rouge to take over and now America is as guilty as if we were over there pulling the triggers on the million plus victims. Never in the movie are communists blamed for trying to create a classless possessionless utopian society devoid of tradition and religion. Finally the stupidest soundtrack selection in the world ends the movie. John Lennon's "Imagine" plays. A song about a classless possessionless utopian society devoid of tradition and religion. It could have been the national anthem for the Khmer Rouge. It espoused most of what they believed, sans the murdering. I hope this tale is retold by some one that wants to truly educate the world about the dangers of fanatical ideologies, not by the "blame America first" crowd.