Six or seven weeks ago

Six or seven weeks ago I called Hans Petter Moland’s The Beautiful Country (Sony Classics, July 8) “some kind of masterwork…one of the most profound and compassionate and finely nuanced films about the rough-and-tumble, never-say-die life of a roaming, disenfranchised person I’ve ever seen.” Only no one voiced their agreement and I couldn’t figure out why because it’s an extraordinarily fine film and I know what I’m talking about. But now — finally! — N.Y. Daily News critic Graham Fuller has joined forces with a blurb that appeared in 5.29′s Sunday Now section, to wit: “Though it has generated little buzz so far, this wrenching sea-and-road odyssey could attract Oscar attention next year.” The main character Binh (Damien Nguyen), a 20 year-old Vietnamese whose American parentage has made him an outcast among his own people, “toughens and gains in wisdom as he ventures into the heart of a different kind of darkness — and out the other side,” Fuller adds. The Beautiful Country is “a road (and sea) movie in the most profound sense of that term,” I wrote on 4.20.05, “and a story about the resilience of the human spirit (although I have mixed feelings about describing it this way, given how totally full-of-shit that last proclamation sounds)…it’s a movie about restraint, restraint and more restraint…and eventually, huge payoffs. Especially during the last 20 minutes or so, when the great Nick Nolte arrives.”

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