Watched Aug 13, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
This is an unremarkable biopic of a remarkable woman. Aung San Suu Kyi spent 15-years under house arrest in Burma and separated from her family back in England. Her story is one that demands to be told yet Luc Besson is not necessarily the right person to tell it. He is a director who gravitates towards strong female characters but subtlety (something this film desperately needed) is far from one of his strong points. Sadly, most of the film’s problems stem from the rather clumsy script rather than Besson’s predictably heavy handed direction.
Scripting such a story is structurally difficult as it spans many years and needs to focus on both the Burma and British bound plots. However, even with these obvious difficulties a better script could have been produced than what is delivered here. At no point do we really get a sense of the real people involved. Suu Kyi delivers platitudinous speeches and little more which is a real shame as it belittles her genuine struggle and sacrifice and makes it hard for the audience to invest in her as a person. No doubt David Thewlis as her bumbling but determined English husband is supposed to be the audience’s way into the story and the political conflict but he borders on caricature.
All this is a real shame as the film is handsomely shot with a fine performance from Michelle Yeoh, even if she has very little to work with, at the centre of the film. Suu Kyi, and the actors involved, deserved better than this.