The Beautiful Country | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Beautiful Country


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A young Vietnamese teenager, shunned because of his Amerasian features, journeys to Saigon in 1990 to find his disgraced Vietnamese mother, then to America to track down his father, a soldier from Texas who disappeared shortly before the war ended. Too poor to pay for the trip, the young man (Damien Nguyen) winds up as human cargo, destined for slave labor in New York City and schooled in the perfidies of life by a cool and malevolent seaman (Tim Roth). The script, by newcomer Sabina Murray, is occasionally cloying as the naive hero falls for a bitter prostitute (Bai Ling), but its epic tale of two cultures tragically entwined is anchored by deep and elemental emotions. Hans Petter Moland (Aberdeen) directed. In English and subtitled Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. R, 125 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Pipers Alley.

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