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Brokedown Palace (1999)
Reviewed on 2012 May 6
This is the story of two girls who trust the wrong guy on what should have been the ultimate vacation, and wind up paying dearly for it.
Alice Marano (Clair Danes) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) are life-long best friends, even “crawling towards each other as babies”, according to Alice. Since they consider each other family and Darlene is going away to college in the fall, they decide to celebrate their high school graduation with the ultimate trip: a jaunt to Thailand. While they’re living it up they meet a smooth-talking Aussie (Daniel Lapaine) who seems smitten with Darlene, and wants them to fly with him to Hong Kong for a couple of days.
The naive Darlene is starry-eyed at the prospect of a vacation fling, but Alice wants to just enjoy the markets, beaches and pad Thai. Against her better judgement she agrees to go. The nightmare starts when the two women are busted in the airport with heroin, and neither woman claims to have packed it. Of course, this cuts no ice with the Thai prosecutors.
This is kind of like a fluffier, pinker “Midnight Express” for Generation Y. Shakespeare it ain’t, but a viewing of this and a few episodes of Locked Up Abroad may not be a bad idea for a traveller who thinks they’re bullet-proof. Danes and Beckinsale both were convincing in their roles, even when you wanted to smack them for respectively being that arrogant and that dumb, and the prison is depicted as realistically hellish without getting cartoony.
Two chocolate morsels, but don’t let anyone pack them for you.