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Brokedown Palace
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Product Description

In this riveting thriller, Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale star as two best friends whose dream vacation becomes a nightmare. Alice (Danes) is impulsive and reckless; Darlene (Beckinsale) is more reserved. But when each falls for the same mysterious man, both girls throw caution to the wind, and in one instant, their lives are changed forever. Now in a foreign land, they must prove their innocence before it's too late. Bill Pullman co-stars in this "compelling" (People Magazine) tale of self-discovery and the ultimate sacrifice for a friend!

Alice (Claire Danes) and Darlene (Kate Beckinsale) are best friends on their post-high-school whirlwind vacation. Telling their parents they're off for Hawaii, they head instead to Thailand, where they stay at a $6-a-night dive and sneak drinks at a posh hotel. They both fall sway to the charms of a handsome Australian (Daniel Lapaine), who invites them to Hong Kong. Off they go, although unbeknownst to them (or is it? this question is never fully answered), one of them has heroin in her backpack. Sentenced to 33 years in a Thai jail, they find their friendship begins to deteriorate as their trust in each other fades. They enlist the help of Yankee Hank (Bill Pullman), a greedy but knowledgeable American lawyer living in Asia.

The main flaws of this film are the capital-L lessons: friendship is powerful, don't trust strangers, nice girls shouldn't drink and sleep around. The film's bleakest moments, in the jail, aren't all that bad, and in this respect Brokedown Palace has nothing on the intensity of films such as Midnight Express or even Return to Paradise. Yet Danes and Beckinsale prove they are strong actresses, and their characters' friendship is suitably complex and believable. --Jenny Brown

Customer Reviews:

  • Prison life at its worst
    We have all seen those movies where people are sent to prison and forced to deal with its unpleasant and vulgar nature. But not like this one. Alice Marano (Claire Danes) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) are sent to rot in a Thai prison for a crime they didn't even know they commited. What makes the Thai prison so harsh is the fact that it's outside, it's hot, and you don't really get visitation rights.

    When Alice and Darlene finish high-school, they tell their parents they're going to Hawaii, when really it's Thailand they're headed for. All's well for the beginning of the trip, and they even manage to make a new friend, Nick Parks (played by Daniel Lapaine), after he covers a tab they tried to get out of paying for at a hotel. And, being the handsome Australian he is, is able to woo both of the girls into going to Hong-Kong with him. But what happens at the airport before going to Hong-Kong is quite the shocker. Airport security finds drugs on one of their backpacks and takes them away. Being that this is Thailand, and not America (where we'd probably let this slide the first time), the two are sent to 33 years in the aforementioned prison. I don't want to give away anything else, but as you can imagine neither are very happy with this sentence; as they do everything they can to be released.

    Underrated director Jonathan Kaplan does a lot with a movie I think most people overlook. He's also able to bring in big-name actor Bill Pullman, who plays Alice and Darlene's lawyer. The movie is very good, yet the story is similar to the Vince Vaughn movie "Return To Paradise". And if you liked that one I'm sure you'll like this movie. I gave it 3 stars for two reasons: one, the plot is very similar to that 1998 movie, which was made only a year before "Brokedown Palace". And two, because the ending seemed to be a bit melodramatic, even if it seems to be fitting. But no doubt you should check this movie out; it's worth a look....more info

  • Brokedown palace
    Pretty good movie. Story line and plot flow well. Stronger language than anticipated. Parents should preview language before allowing kids to watch....more info
  • very good movie
    I must point out that this movie had an Excellent Soundtrack.

    also, although Nick Parks organized the setup, I don't think that it was he who actually Placed the drugs in their backpack, because if the drugs were in the bag at the time that they were prepairing to leave the hotel, I think they would have noticed. However, I Never trusted the suspicious luggage carrier at the hotel, who Was the last one to handle the backpack before they arrived at the airport (he placed it in the trunk of the cab). I personally believe he was working for Nick Parks.

    overall, a great movie, great soundtrack, and an emotionally touching end....more info

  • I absolutely love this movie
    You must buy this movie. The acting is great as well as the plot too. Also, watching it, you realize it is possible that it could actually happen. And Claire Danes is beautiful as usual. She is so hot. Also buy the soundtrack. This movie is a very great movie and destined to be popular for a long time....more info
  • The best movie ever made!
    This movie was the best movie ever made. You have to go see it with a friend though....more info
  • LM
    I have to argue with many of the other reviews that say this movie is inplausible. I have seen both Midngiht Express and Return to Paradise. I loved Return to Paradise, but thought ME was long and dragged out. Many of the other reviewers here are ranting and raving about how drug dealers do not turn in their own mules.. Yes, they do. I loved the movie Brokedown Palace- the only thing I thought was a little corny was the fact their lawyer in Thailand was an American....more info
  • LOVE this movie!
    What would you do if you were 18 years old, in a prison in a foreign country, where you do not speak the language, for something you didn't do?

    This movie is fantastic in filming, acting and plot. The characters portrayed are in a horrid situation, and have to answer the question: 'When you are treated like an animal, what do you become?'

    I highly suggest this movie to any that prefer a plot driven movie....more info

  • Good movie but...
    This movie is fantastic to portray the depth of friendship. Must watch even though some may not like the actresses cast in the movie.

    However, I ordered this on the 17th, received today, tore out the plastic, and figured that the internal disc holding mechanism is broken. Oh well, I have CD pocket holders for the disc, not a big deal. However, this is one of the first totally unusable, broken casing disc holder mechanism, I have received....more info
  • Fascinating and realistic
    Their trip to Bangkok was supposed to be a blast for Alice (Danes) and Darlene (Beckinsale). After having met handsome Australian, everything goes wrong. Nick uses the two girls to smuggle drugs to Hong Kong. Still at the airport, Alice & Darlene are arrested and sentenced to 33 years in a womens' jail. The two friends' last chance is the American lawyer Hank Greene (Pullman).Together with his Thai wife he tries to get the girls out of jail, what turns out to be close to impossible. When the situation seems to be hopeless, Alice shows how much Darlene means to her...
    I was fascinated by Jonathan Kaplan's movie. It's realistic, quiet, emphatic and very well acted. Most of all, Claire Danes is really, really great. All in all, "Brokedown Palace" is a movie, which is worth watching....more info
  • Reason I didn't give it a one star
    Warning -semi-spoilers

    Okay, there is one reason I did not give this film a one star. If a young teeny bopper adolescent girl crazed over Claire Danes can learn a lesson about flying off to an unknown place without understanding that country's laws, and stop thinking it's so cool to go away with her best gilfriend and live it up in another exotic locale...then all is not wasted.

    Otherwise...this movie was really sad. Not as entertaining as the commericals lead me to believe. The girls were too incredibly naive and arrogant while in another country. Depressing stuff....more info

  • rip-off of better film
    This film is a rip-off of "Return To Paradise" which is a much better film with a better ending. I would recommend NOT wasting your time with this and instead view "Return To Paradise" with Vince Vaughn....more info
  • Claire Danes' finest performance...
    ...I've seen this movie many, many times now and I enjoy watching the movie every single time, even knowing how the movie will end. The reason why, in my opinion, is because of the great performance of Claire Danes. She plays the role so convincingly well that at the end of the movie you actually buy into the choice her character makes, and that makes it believable, understandable and plausible. In the absence of such a performance, I don't think the ending would have worked so well. I've seen other movies she's done, and I don't think she's ever been better. If she doesn't do another movie or reprise another role, she should be proud of the work she does here. The movie would not have worked without her. Period....more info
  • what a letdown
    there is nothing sadder than a film that does not deliver on it's promises. breakdown palace is such a work. the characters are two dimensional, we can never really get behind the two female leads or feel their isolation and pain. the plot takes forever to develop and then turns predictable...been there, done that. finally, the ending is unbelievable and (well, there is no other word) silly. film buffs are directed to pass on this release and treat themselves to a much finer film by re-renting "midnight express". these girls sometimes seem like they are at summer camp rather than in prison....more info
  • Wonderful Movie
    Many negative reviews seem to be under the misapprehension that this movie is about something which it is not. Something that, if it were to incorporate those elements, would completely change the character of the film--turning it from a story about friendship, character, and life's little events to one about the horrors of the foreign prison.

    This film is not about prison or about life in prison. It is not about drug smuggling. Criticizing it on this is like saying that Pirates of the Caribbean is a horrible movie because it doesn't represent an accurate portrayal of shipboard life.

    It is a stunningly beautiful and well done (at points artistic) portrayal of the depths of friendship and the strength of human character ("if you are lying..."). The sets and acting are wonderful, the examination of the Thai legal system seemed fair (regardless of whether those are the actual conditions in prison, I am not qualified to judge nor do I care for the purposes of this film), and there were several underlying moral questions without clear answers.

    Which is another thing: this movie doesn't leave you with all of the answers. Nothing is left accidentally dangling, but there are several things left for you to chew on....more info

  • Worth the time and money
    No, this film wasn't mentioned at this year's Oscars, and it won't be mentioned at next year's Oscars either, but lighten up, it was entertaining! If I had to sit down and analyze this movie I would probably end up disliking it too, but for my Abe Lincoln and the trip to Blockbuster, this was a damn good two hours. You can't go wrong with Claire Danes, and having Bill Pullman in it was an added bonus. Yes, it did remind me of Return to Paradise, but I would have Claire Danes in my movie before Ann Heche any day of the week. In fact, scrub out Return to Paradise all together and make Vince Vaughn the Australian and you've got an even better movie! I'm rambling, but you get my point. I thought the ending, although sad, was unexpected, well done, and yes, believable. I don't know if I would be big enough to do that, but I believe there are people who are. Go see this movie if you haven't'll thank me later!...more info
  • Don't let this happen to you
    The story of friendship tested is interesting, the characters are engaging, the sets are beautiful, the acting is good to excellent, but somehow this tale of two American girls unjustly jailed for drug tracking in Thailand doesn't quite convince. It's hard to say just what director Jonathan Kaplan might have done differently to make this promising movie an outstanding movie. But maybe it has something to do with the wrong kind of detail, the accumulated effects thereof.

    First we have the sight of the pretty American girls, just out of high school, Alice Marano (Claire Danes) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) dressed in USA young miss outfits that show off their figures like models on a runway. You'd think they would dress down a little for the natives, remembering that when in Rome do as the Romans do. I've watched the Globe Trekker on PBS and the young women there never wear tight skirts and lipstick. The girls prance about the streets of Thailand on display as though looking for Mr. Right.

    Well, of course this being the nineties and not the fifties, they instead find Mr. Wrong. He charms them and divides them by invoking jealousy, the one of the other. All of this makes for an interesting premise. And then we have a nice (if predictable) twist, and the girls end up in prison.

    The prison sets are beautiful in a dark and somber way, full of open spaces and diffused colors, guards in pressed uniforms, the other prisoners mostly healthy--pretty even--in clean uniforms with neat tags like charms hanging from the necks. The fruits and vegetables stacked in the corner of the mess area that the girls are tricked into sampling are fresh and attractive. Strange. A palace as a prison.

    Somehow--perhaps it was the beauty of the sets--I never really felt the kind of outrage and horror and near hopelessness that such a situation might evoke. It seemed clear that everything would work out, and the girls would go home soon, leaving the misadventure behind them.

    That is not exactly what happens.

    See this for Claire Danes who gives a fine performance and almost sells the not-entirely plausible ending....more info

  • Awsome Movie
    Excellent movie and very glad I saw it. The soundtrack is awsome and moving esspecially Sarah Brightman's single "Deliver Me" at the closing of the film. ...more info
  • Brokedown Palace - Claire Danes
    Brokedown Palace is, IMHO, Claire Danes' best movie. The plot is good, the characters are believable and the settings are exotic. There are a few missing pieces after it is all said and done, but I'm sure the film maker would say that they were not really important, it was the story of the two characters that was important. Not who did what and who knew about it. If you are a Claire Danes fan, this movie is a must see. Kate Beckinsale had a weaker performance than Danes, but its difficult to say if that performance was the result of a limitation in her acting skill or a limitation of the character she played or both. Her performance doesn't detract from the film however. Bill Pullman does a good job as the lawyer, but it's difficult to understand exactly how he became a lawyer in Thailand.

    Overall it is a great move and Claire's best work yet....more info

  • amazing talent
    this movie tells it like it is, its dramatic, and very well acted. It shows strangth, power, friendship and betral.
    its amazing...more info
  • Big Bore-Rip-Off of a classic
    Let me start off by saying, This a Prison movie, rated pg-13, not to metion this takes place in a womens prison in Thailand!! umm hello, lets be realistic. What prison in th U.S. even is rated pg-13. Anyways, Total rip off of a great movie from the late 80's called "Purgatory" Identical plots, only this one is a Overly Dramatic, One sided, Lifetime movie!! These two girls mistakenly get charged for smuggling drugs, and end up in a prison resort. Nobody really messes with them, the hardess labor they do is cleaning dishes, and they get group naps with walkmen. Weak if you like lifetime junk, this is for you. If not, then Check out "Purgatory", two words Tanya Roberts!! "Purgatory" is what this movie didn't have the brass to pull off. It's the same plot, two beautiful girls end up with some guy they just met, get arrested for unknowingly smuggling drugs. But "Purgatory" is a realistic movie worth watching, it has everthing you'd expect from a female prison movie in a 3rd world country,: Corruption, Violence, Drugs, Rape, Murder, Suicide etc.. Do the right thing and spend you money on a true Classic "Purgatory" !!...more info
  • A beautiful movie with great actors!
    I first saw previews for this movie a while ago and wanted to see it but I never got around to it. So when it came out to video I was happy I wanted to rent it but evertime I went to the video store it was gone till one night it was there I grabbed it and came home to watch it. I feel in love with this movie. I now happily own it one DVD so I can watch it when I want to. :) This is one the best movies I've seen in a while....more info
  • good movie....really touching...
    ...and the performances are wonderful...a bit slow...but worth it......more info
  • Brokedown Movie
    Claire Danes is the only thing that kept this movie going. She is so eye-fetching and compelling as an actress, that you just want to reach out and touch her. But, what a lousy ending. It had potential. The scenario is an all too familiar one, two good-looking American girls find themselves trapped in an Asian prison with seemingly no way out. But, this isn't a jailbait movie, it attempts to address the issue in a serious way, a la Midnight Express, but unfortunately falls flat on its face.

    The characters are so unbelievable (except Danes of course). Fathers who allow their daughters to rot in jail. A private American lawyer hanging out in Bangkok who wiffs of second-hand Graham Greene novels ready to bail out the girls for a price. A friendship between the two girls that you really have to question in the face of what happens to them, and an ending that will leave you totally exasperated.

    I don't suppose this was based on a true story. Rather, the director seemed in search of some gravitas and needed to concoct an ending that would carry with it the emotional weight he imagined would be the case in such a situation. But, it is simply too incredible to believe that Danes' character would sell herself in this way....more info

  • WOW
    I just saw this movie 3 days ago... and the next day i went out and bought it... i must say it's a beyond good movie... with a really good soundtrack.. this movie made me cry, and a movie hasnt done that to me in awhile... but what happend with Alice and Darlene in this movie was just so sad and so hard to deal with and they just graduated highschool when they went off on there "freedom" trip. This movie is worth checking out and buying it has everything a great movie needs.....more info
  • Exotic lands are only fun until...
    Sure, the movie was not (from what I know) completely accurate in terms of the conditions of Thai prisons. And I do agree at times the prison seemed so sunny, too friendly, too cheerful, etc to be realistic. But I think that the plot is that of a tale of friendship as much as it is of serving time in a Thai prison.

    Most importantly, I think that anyone who is a first time traveler or planning on backpacking throughout Southeast Asia really should see this film. Darlene and Alice were typical girls from USA Suburbia. They had just finished school (like many who are about to do a gap year or some backpacking) and went to Thailand because it was exotic, different, faraway... They really didn't know much about Thai culture before they set out.

    Sadly, they stayed in Thailand for much longer than they had planned to -- locked up in a women's prision (probably Lard Yao), for carrying drugs. Without devulging the plot, it is fair to say that they were innocent.

    Again, another harsh reminder that if you are heading to Southeast Asia (or really any developing area), you need to be really careful. Watch this, read Sandra Gregory's "Forget you Had a Daughter," and don't try anything stupid (or don't be coerced, tricked, etc). Southeast Asia is a wonderful place, and you will have a blast. Just know that there are consequences if you are caught with anything....more info

  • Entertaining but implausible
    Two adventurous teenagers, best friends, take a trip to Thailand for one last experience before separating and going off to college. It seems like a fun time of touring an exotic land, until they meet an attractive stranger who seduces them into taking a trip to Hong Kong and puts drugs in their luggage. They get nabbed by the local police and find that justice in Asia is very different from justice in the U.S.

    This is the main story line for "Brokedown Palace" and it was a good one. The film does a decent job of portraying the arbitrary and corrupt justice systems of third world nations. Actually, the portrayal was rather mild, as the prison conditions are often far worse than depicted. It serves as a reminder that no matter how bad we think our justice system is, it is pristine by comparison to much of the rest of the world.

    Unfortunately, there were too many contrived situations in the film that hampered the story. The whole escape attempt was bogus fantasy. To think that friends would be able to smuggle money for a bribe into the prison in a padded bra, and not be discovered by the guards who were systematically checking everything brought in from visitors, assumes that either the guards or the viewers are utter blockheads.

    The story also fails to bring closure to the nagging question of how the drugs got in Alice's (Claire Danes) backpack. Did she actually agree to transport the drugs? We are left to guess. It was intriguing to be kept guessing about the girls' innocence throughout the film, but we finish the movie never really knowing if one or both of the girls might be guilty. Except for this considerable flaw, the ending was excellent and the results unexpected.

    The acting by Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale was very solid and well done. Danes, who has been oversold and over hyped, actually arrived as an actor in this film. Though her portrayal was frequently immature (as was her character), she improved as the film progressed and the circumstances became more dire. Beckinsale, in contrast has been flying under the radar her whole brief career and shines as the goody-two-shoes who suddenly finds herself in prison. Her's was the best performance in the film.

    Bill Pullman was miscast as the lawyer. His wry and diffident style is an asset in films like "While You Were Sleeping", but as a lawyer in a third world country on a crusade to free two innocent girls from injustice, he had the wrong personality.

    The tourist's look at Thailand was interesting, but it didn't make me want to go there.

    Overall, an entertaining film made implausible in parts by the insertion of some ridiculous scenes. I gave it a 7/10....more info