Books and Movies Reviews

Movie Summary – Brokedown Palace

What price innocence? This is the question posed in Brokedown Palace, a slight story of slackers who land behind bars in the most unlikely of places. Alice Marano (Claire Danes) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) are best friends for life. They’ve only just made it out of high school, but that “for life” part will be severely tested, in several senses, before the movie is over.
Bored by summer jobs, Alice and Darlene tell their parents they’re going to visit Hawaii — but instead set off to Thailand, lured by stories of good times for cheap. On a tour that makes Thailand look like just another village from a Disney theme park, they partake of quirky local traditions. Things only go downhill when Alice, the trouble maker of the two, invites Darlene to sneak into a glamorous hotel to swim and put drinks on random rooms’ tabs. Caught in a lie, their tab is covered by a suave Australian named Nick Parks, who takes them dancing and asks them to join him in Hong Kong. Things unravel at the airport, where a swat team finds drugs in Alice’s backpack, and soon a judge gives both girls 33-year prison terms.
In these opening minutes, the most entertaining scene occurs when Darlene finds a roach in their cheap hotel room. Sadly, the rest of the movie hardly improves on that. Brokedown Palace serves as a study in muddled, ineffectual drama. For starters, a voiceover by Alice provides the film’s set-up in the form of a tape being listened to by Yankee Hank (Bill Pullman), the lawyer the girls are trying to recruit. Pullman nods at the droning, off-topic ramblings on the tape, which are really meant for the viewers in the theater. Similarly, two characters in Brokedown Palace, the women’s prison, appear to have been created solely to advance the plot more quickly. There is also the token unfriendly prisoner who loves to cause trouble for the two girls — and for no one else.
The simplistic melodrama doesn’t end there. Alice keeps an irrel…


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