A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.
Release Year: 1982
Rating: 7.0/10 (9,276 voted)
Critic's Score: 65/100
Stars: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt
Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. His apparently humdrum assignment to Indonesia soon turns hot as President Sukarno electrifies the populace and frightens foreign powers. Guy soon is the hottest reporter on the story with the help of his photographer, half- Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, who has gone native. Guy's affair with diplomat Jill Bryant also helps. Eventually Guy must face some major moral choices and the relationship between Billy and him reaches a crisis at the same time the politics of Indonesia does.
Writers: Peter Weir, C.J. Koch
Hermino De Guzman
Mel Gibson . . . Living Dangerously
Release Date: 21 January 1983
Filming Locations: Artransa Park Film Studios, Mobbs Lane, Epping, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $35,000
(21 January 1983)
Did You Know?
Filming in Manila in the Phillippines was halted after three weeks due to death threats to the production. Reportedly, these were directed to both actor Mel Gibson and director Peter Weir. The threats alleged that the film being made was intended to be anti-Islam. For the protection and safety of the cast and crew, the whole production moved to Sydney, Australia to complete principal photography. The move was costly and put a huge strain on the picture's art department.
As Guy is arriving in Jakarta Billy Kwan's VO tells us it is June 25th, 1965, but the copy of Time Magazine Guy is clutching as he passes through immigration is actually the July 30th, 1965 issue with the famous Marc Chagall self portrait cover.
If it's in focus, it's pornography, if it's out of focus, it's art.
Sense of place, sense of menace
I am a little amazed that, so far, only 40 comments have been entered.
Fortunately most are of high quality, and all the important points
related to the film are clearly highlighted. So, I will not repeat what
has been well said by others. I want to explain one additional point,
it has to do with my personal experience but might be interesting to
I'm a professional expatriate, living overseas for 25 years. I'm not
talking about an American in Paris or an Englishman in New York, I mean
African steppes, tropical jungles, Indian slums. Living in a totally
foreign country, in a totally strange culture, imperfectly
understanding the local language, bewildered by alien logic, you
experience a permanent sense of unease. You adapt, you learn to cope,
you make what you hope are friends. But you never forget that you are a
stranger in unknown territory, and that you are vulnerable.
You may peacefully walk on the street one minute, the next minute
bullets are flying all around you. In the evening you have a pleasant
drink with your neighbour, in the morning you are arrested, accused of
being a foreign mercenary. When you travel inland you come at a road
block, not knowing if they'll let you pass, or harass you for a couple
of hours, or confiscate your car. As a foreigner in developing
countries, you are constantly confronted with uncertainty, an
intangible menace lurking around the corner.
I find that TYOLD transmits this sense of menace very poignantly. Many
people have commented on its brilliant sense of place, the accurate
depiction of Indonesia and the events that took place at the time.
Others mention that you get a very real feeling of the tension and
uncertainty journalists in times of upheaval are subjected to. But I
would like to extend it beyond journalists. The sense of menace in
TYOLD is eminently recognizable by all who have lived in countries
where the police is not there to protect you, the laws are not there to
make society more civilized, the hospitals are not there to cure you.
In TYOLD, the menace is made visible because of the troubles that
erupt, but usually you do not have to live through civil war when
overseas. Still, the menace is not less real, and the sense of
foreboding haunting every expatriate was very convincingly conveyed in