This movie was fantastic. It stars Dr. Haing S. Ngor as Pran, who was a real life survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. He was awarded an Academy Award for his performance. The only other non-actor to win an Oscar was Harold Russell in 1946 in The Best Years of Our Lives (AH). Regardless, this man was truly incredible.
There were some horrific scenes in this film, ones that really open your eyes about a lot of things. The title comes from the several locations of mass graves developed from the communist regime. There were an estimated 1.3 million murders in the five year span following the Cambodian Civil War.
I loved the ending to this film, Sydney does end up finding Pran after four years of searching, and Pran gets to return to his wife and four adorable children in San Francisco. However, despite the happy conclusion for the characters, the film plays John Lennon’s Imagine while the title cards remind the audience that these murders of men, women, and children are still happening every day, even in 1984. It’s a nice balance between the positive and negative way of looking at the dreadful situation.
Here’s a great quote from Dr. Haing S. Ngor in reference to playing this role:
“I wanted to show the world how deep starvation is in Cambodia, how many people die under Communist regime. My heart is satisfied. I have done something perfect.”