The Beautiful Country

( 1 )

Overview

A Vietnamese man looking for a better life embarks on a dangerous and eye-opening voyage to America in this powerful drama set during the early '90s. In 1990, Binh Damien Nguyen is a man in his early twenties who has never known his parents, though he is clearly of mixed-race parentage, which makes him an outcast in his community. Weary of being treated like an animal, Binh sets out to find his mother, Mai Thi Kim Xuan Chau, only to discover she works as a servant for a wealthy family who subject her to constant ...
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Overview

A Vietnamese man looking for a better life embarks on a dangerous and eye-opening voyage to America in this powerful drama set during the early '90s. In 1990, Binh Damien Nguyen is a man in his early twenties who has never known his parents, though he is clearly of mixed-race parentage, which makes him an outcast in his community. Weary of being treated like an animal, Binh sets out to find his mother, Mai Thi Kim Xuan Chau, only to discover she works as a servant for a wealthy family who subject her to constant abuse, and that she has a baby son. When a household accident leads to the death of the matriarch, Mai, her infant, and Binh go on the run. Mai then confesses to Binh that she's dying, gives him all the money she has, and implores him to leave Vietnam for America, with his half-brother in tow. Unable to travel to America legally, Binh attempts to smuggle his way into the States aboard a ship; he's found out, and is sent to a prison camp in Malaysia, where he meets Ling Bai Ling, a beautiful woman who has been forced into prostitution to support herself. Befriending Ling, Binh eventually arranges for passage to America aboard a refugee ship, though the harrowing voyage claims the life of Binh's half-brother. Binh and Ling arrive in New York City as illegal aliens, and soon learn that life in America can be just as harrowing as what they left behind; eventually, Binh runs away, hoping to make his way to Texas where he's learned that his father is living. Produced by Terrence Malick, The Beautiful Country also features supporting performances from Nick Nolte and Tim Roth.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary with director Hans Petter Moland; Interview with screenwriter Sabina Murray
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richie Unterberger
Cinematically The Beautiful Country is a fairly conventional melodrama, but it's a very powerful and well-acted one, with an unusual story broaching sociopolitical topics too seldom explored in mainstream movies of the early 21st century. Although Nick Nolte playing the protagonist's long-lost American father received top billing for his small part, the film is really carried by Damien Nguyen in his role as the half-Vietnamese, half-American young man who undertakes an epic odyssey across three countries and an ocean. Several interesting issues are touched upon, either in passing or in depth. Those include the scorn heaped upon war children of mixed ancestry in Vietnam; the oppression of lower classes that remained among Vietnamese citizenry even after the Vietnam's War end; the stateless displacement in Malaysian refugee camps; the exploitation of illegal refugees by Western mercenaries; the incredible hardships those refugees endure to escape to America; the fall of decent women into prostitution in order to survive; and the destruction wrought by the Vietnam War on the lives of American soldiers such as Nolte. It's a lot to hold together, particularly over a narrative that moves from rural Vietnam to Saigon, Malaysia, an ocean crossing, New York, and Texas. Holding it together is the stoic resiliency of Nguyen, determined to maintain his dignity even though all cultures seem to discriminate against and reject him, developing a toughness without compromising his fundamental sense of justice and decency.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/13/2005
  • UPC: 043396108653
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:05:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Damien Nguyen Binh
Nick Nolte Steve
Tim Roth Captain Oh
Bai Ling Ling
Temuera Morrison Snake Eyes
John Hussey Jerry
Arthur Nascarella Gruff
Tranh Dang Quoc Thinh Tam
Thi Kim Xuan Chau Mai
Anh Thu Mrs. Hoa
Khuong Duc Thuan Mrs. Hoa's Son
Vu Tang Servant
Than Kien Nguyen Riley
Bui Ti Hong Crippled Woman
Chapman To Chingmy
Thu Anh Mrs. Hoa
Glen Bradford Wayne
Xuan Phuc Dins Pham
Damien Hung Eng
Thi Hoa Mai Wa
Man-Chat To Chingmy
Dang Quoc Thinh Tran Tam
Technical Credits
Hans Petter Moland Director
Tomas Backstrom Producer
Petter Borgli Producer
Alice Chan Casting
Kim Dalum Sound/Sound Designer
Dominique Delany Asst. Director
Stuart Dryburgh Cinematographer
Sturla Einarson Art Director, Sound/Sound Designer
Petter Fladeby Sound/Sound Designer
Larry Gross Screenwriter
Tran Anh Hoa Casting
Lingard Jervey Original Story
Karl Juliusson Production Designer
Avy Kaufman Casting
Terrence Malick Producer
Lynne Moon Art Director
Sabina Murray Original Story, Screenwriter
Sam Nazarian Executive Producer
Jan Okern Executive Producer
Anne Pedersen Costumes/Costume Designer
Zbigniew Preisner Score Composer
Edward R. Pressman Producer
Wibecke Rønseth Editor
Greg Woertz Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Beautiful Country
1. Start [9:16]
2. Reunited With Mai [9:39]
3. The Big House [8:10]
4. No Country [9:49]
5. Face of the Enemy [10:55]
6. Welcome Aboard [13:35]
7. Tampering With Cargo [8:06]
8. No More Games [8:48]
9. Arrived Alone [12:05]
10. Son of an American G.I. [13:27]
11. Taking to Strangers [7:41]
12. Memories of Vietnam [13:20]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Beautiful Country
   Play Movie
   Subtitles
      English
      French
      Spanish
      Portuguese
      Subtitles Off
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary With Director Hans Petter Moland: On/Off
      Interview With Screenwriter Sabina Murray
      Previews
         Heights
         Oliver Twist
         Saraband
         Saving Face
         Sueño
         Thumbsucker
   Previews
      Heights
      Oliver Twist
      Saraband
      Saving Face
      Sueño
      Thumbsucker
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great movie

    I just watched this movie last week, and was extremely moved by the beauty of it. The story was compelling, and the acting was very good. The scenery was also very nice, and I felt like I learned about something that I knew very little about. This movie sure makes you appreciate living in America, and start to understand how difficult it must be for immigrants and refugees to scrap out a survival, given the circumstances of their lives both before and after arriving in America. The hero in this movie is the young man who survives a lot, and still has love in his heart, even after being treated as an outcast his whole life. It is a beautiful movie that I would recommend to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews