"Beyond Rangoon" is a disappointing attempt to mix a socially relevant message-movie with a commercial thriller, but the result is, sadly, rather aloof and largely unaffecting.
Patricia Arquette stars as that common Hollywood figurehead, the American innocent caught up in foreign civil war, who helps lead the way to freedom.
Arquette does give the film her all, and her performance will no doubt boost her stock as an actress in Tinsel Town, regardless of how the picture itself performs at the box office. Accomplished director John Boorman seems sincerely interested in exploring the indomitable human spirit. And U Aung Ko, who is Burmese but not a professional actor - he's a language teacher living in Paris - delivers the goods as a political dissident with whom Arquette travels.
But in the end, "Beyond Rangoon" seems less about the horror suffered by the Burmese than the inconvenience suffered by an American tourist who has lost her passport. That trivializes Boorman's intentions, of course, but the film is simply too dull to transcend its superficial treatment.
"Beyond Rangoon" is rated R for violence, gore, attempted rape and profanity.