A story of perseverance and survival in hell on earth, The Killing Fields represents an admirable, if not entirely successful, attempt to bring alive to the world film audience the horror story that is the recent history of Cambodia.
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A mighty accomplishment, and possibly the bravest Britflick yet made.
Every scene of The Killing Fields (and every participant in its making) is in service of showing how abruptly a seemingly safe and vital individual can have everything essential stripped away.
The Killing Fields is the best movie about journalism since "All the President's Men," re-creating with an understated ease the atmosphere of the poolside bonhomie of the correspondents, the mechanics of getting and filing a story, and the moral quandaries of a reporter's professional detachment.
One of the risks taken by The Killing Fields is to cut loose from that tradition, to tell us a story that does not have a traditional Hollywood structure, and to trust that we'll find the characters so interesting that we won't miss the cliché. It is a risk that works, and that helps make this into a really affecting experience.
Unfortunately, the most moving aspect of The Killing Fields is not the friendship, which should be the film's core, but the fact that the friendship never becomes as inspiriting as the one Mr. Schanberg recalled in his own searching, unhackneyed prose.