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Peter Weir's attempt to make a Casablanca for the 80s—a romance set against a background of exoticism and intrigue—suffers from hazy plotting and a constant, pretentious mystification. The lovers—Mel Gibson as a naive Australian reporter and Sigourney Weaver as an employee of the British embassy, both caught up in the Indonesian political turmoil of 1965—have none of the character depth necessary to hold their own against Weir's parade of social rot (a la Fellini), supernatural metaphors, and moralizing dwarfs; they seem like second leads in their own movie. Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli) always emphasizes the picturesque over the dramatic; he has again made a handsome film without a single vivid moment. With Michael Murphy and Linda Hunt.
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