What You Need To Know:
(H, B, FR, RH, L, VV) Eclectic yet moral worldview emphasizing Buddhism's resignation to the sorrows of life combined with a strong Christian message to love your neighbor, some spiritism, some revisionist history, some humanism, & a pinch of Christianity; 5 profanities; and, military violence including pistol whipping & several shootings which vividly display the pain & carnage of death.
Set in 1988, BEYOND RANGOON tells the story of Laura Bowman, a young doctor who is touring Burma trying to escape the horrors of the murder of her husband and son. Still emotionally disturbed, Laura ventures out of her Rangoon hotel to investigate a student rally. When she returns, she finds that the police are prepared to arrest her for violating the curfew. The next day, she finds that her passport is lost and misses her flight. While waiting for the American Embassy to issue her a new passport, she goes on a tour beyond Rangoon with one-time professor U Aung Ko. The Professor’s car breaks down, as they seek refuge from a monsoon in the house of some student dissident friends. The next day, marshal law is imposed, and, after encountering trouble at a checkpoint, they are pursued by the military who shoot and wound the Professor. The remainder of the film entails Laura and the Professor escaping from Burma in the midst of the gruesome military crackdown.
BEYOND RANGOON is a movie that tells an important story of the danger of totalitarian socialism. The action sequences, casting and setting for the film are superb, but the direction lags during the expository sequences that seek to explain the revolution and Buddhism. If Boorman had allowed the story to tell itself and had refrained from paying homage to Buddhism, BEYOND RANGOON could have been a great film.