Beyond Rangoon There are two heroines in “Beyond Rangoon,” a film with a shrewd double vision. One heroine, based on a real-life woman, becomes an ethereal, legendary presence hovering over the film. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democratic leader who was placed under house arrest for six years and won the Nobel Peace Prize, gives the film its purpose, though she appears in only one scene (played by Adelle Lutz). The fictional heroine, appearing in almost every scene, is Laura Bowman (Patricia Arquette). She is an American tourist caught in the chaos and violence of Burma in 1988, when the military cracked down on Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi and the democracy movement, and declared martial law. When Laura wanders into the lush, overgrown countryside, she finds herself the target of soldiers ready to shoot her on sight.
John Boorman’s film is determined to be both a thriller with commercial possibilities and, that least fashionable of genres, a serious political film. Amazingly, this hybrid works. “Beyond Rangoon” gets off to a slow, worrisome start, but it soon becomes an elegant, fierce, absorbing movie. Rated R for violence. (from NYTimes.com)