The Year of Living Dangerously sets in the Sukarno-era
when communism caused ruptures in Indonesian political situation. The movie
features Mel Gibson playing as an Australian journalist, Guy Hamilton, who is
assigned to Indonesia .
He is sent to Indonesia
without proper preparation from his office. He literally starts from zero in
the country. Foreign correspondent group in Indonesia Jakarta
also does not really welcome . Hamilton
Hamilton finds it
hard to report news happening in . He cannot nail any essential
interviews and can only report boring stories. However, after befriending with
a half-Chinese dwarf photographer Billy Kwan (played by Linda Hunt), Indonesia can make some notable
headlines. Kwan has a wide range of sources, from crooks to generals. As Hamilton Hamilton’s name raise into prominence, he becomes widely
known and being accepted by the foreign correspondent group in . Kwan
then introduces Indonesia Hamilton to Jill Byrant, a
British Embassy’s officer played by Sigourney Weaver, with whom falls in love. Hamilton
As the movie rolls, intern problems among
, Byrant and Kwan emerge as the
Indonesian political and social condition worsens because Chinese Communist
party provides Indonesian Communism Party (PKI) with arms to overthrow Sukarno.
Then, each of Hamilton, Byrant and Kwan must make hard decision in response to
the complicating situation among them. Hamilton
|Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) and Jill Byrant (Sigourney Weaver)|
Overall, The Year of Living Dangerously provides its viewers, specifically journalist, with some basics of being foreign correspondents. It shows journalists the importance of networks and connections with locals (authorities or just laymen) as well as other foreign correspondence to smoothen their journalism duty.
However, the movie is overshadowed by the love story of Hamilton and Byrant. Their romance dominates the story so that it diminishes the importance of other crucial movie element like the setting of time. The romance becomes the spectacle in the movie. It fails audience’s expectation who seek to better understand about Indonesian history in the 1960s.
|Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt)|
Even so, the movie deserves to receive recognition because it shows us a brilliant acting of Linda Hunt who acts as a half-Chinese dwarf male photographer, Billy Kwan. Her acting is so soulful that audience can feel her empathy when watching Indonesian’s poverty and frustration to Sukarno. Therefore, it is no wonder that she won an Oscar for her role in the movie.
The Year of Living Dangerously is probably not the best movie if one wants to extensively understand
in the 1960s. Yet, it still provides audience with a unique view on Indonesia Indonesia as seen from ’s spectacle. It is also probably
not the best medium to wholly understand the essence of being foreign correspondents.
But, it does show what foreign correspondents will face in a turbulent country. Hollywood