WOW. There's not much more to say.
Directed by: Ken Cameron
Gripping drama about Kat Stanton, a young Australian woman who, whilst searching for her father, ends up in Thailand where she falls in love with Arkie Regan, a photographer.
Arkie asks Kat to carry some luggage through Thai customs for him. She finds herself arrested for drug smuggling. She is sentenced and imprisoned in the horrific 'Bangkok Hilton' - a notorious prison. Enduring the most appalling conditions, Kat's father and lawyer battle with the authorities to save her life.
- The ultimate horror of every backpacker tourist
It must be the ultimate horror for any backpacker / long distance traveller: you get jailed in a foreign country whose language you do not speak and where you can expect "a fair trial plus a fine hanging", even as an innocent party.
The plot may be somewhat too well constructed. Normally, parents and friends would protest against the arrest of an innocent tourist. Anyway, there were such cases in draconic Singapore and elsewhere. You bet I look particularly well after my luggage in such countries! Oh, and Thailand has abolished capital punishment.
It's all flawless. I have watched it many many times, and it never gets old. Always tense, exciting and worrying. The sense of heated desperation always hits me watching this. The only problem with this show, is that nobody has heard of it. It's not possible to talk about a show that nobody has seen. cause you don't wanna give spoilers :(
I won't drivel on... blah blah, best TV miniseries I've ever seen... blah blah, Nicole Kidman's best work... all the other reviews say that too. What the others haven't mentioned is the emotionally draining, nerve-wracking and brilliant performance given by little Aussie actress Joy Smithers as Mandy Engels, the woman who befriends Katrina in prison. Very, very impressive.
- CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
It was well past midnight, I had a hell of a cold, and I didn't even see it starting. The scene I first saw was Nicole on the beach in Goa, minutes before the photographer joins her. Three hours later I just couldn't let it go, although I happened to turn on the VCR half way through just in case. It is unexpectedly good, gripping story, wonderful acting, unpretentious...Nicole is simply astounding, you are not ready for her pre-Tom, pre-plastic accurate performance. Pure bravura. And the Weaving guy? You just see him elfin and distant, human and committed, without even trying such thing as a flirtation with otherwise easy prey Kidman. Denholm is as always, solid, lovable, tender...The court and jail scenes seem realistic, some times even bureaucratic, while still retaining the horror of a fate which so many times is beyond our control. It makes you introspect what would happen if... I found it amazing that I had not the slightest idea about this series, not because I'm Leslie Helliwell's reviewer or something, but because it has been so badly overlooked...I agree that it deserves a rerunning and a DVD edition in full splendour (the copy I saw was not perfect). A 8/10 is the least it deserves.
- Superior work from Australia.
This is the ultimate TV mini-series. Everything is right. The story, the acting, the filming, the length, the locations, what not?
It looks as if even the prison scenes have been filmed in a real Thai prison, although one might doubt if permission would have been given for that by the Thai authorities if the script was known to them. All the other Bangkok scenes are definitely filmed on real locations. Also the airport scenes. They were definitely filmed at Bangkok Airport. I can guarantee this, knowing the place well. In this series Nicole Kidman broke through as an actress and she would deserve an Oscar, if there were one for this category (TV movies). Her acting is so perfectly natural and it looks as if she is going through the events herself, like in a documentary. One seldom sees such superior acting in a TV mini-series. All the locations have been chosen extremely well. I happen to know Bangkok quite well and I would not have been able to suggest any better locations. The movie last for about 4.5 hours, but this is not one minute too long. One needs every scene in the movie and it never bores. One can hardly believe that 4.5 hours have passed when the end credits appear. Time flies and if one looks at a video or DVD version it is impossible to interrupt it.
This one clearly shows that a TV mini-series can be of high quality and can be far superior to a movie, made for theaters. We can be happy that there is a DVD version in Europe. Everybody will want to see this one more than once. Superior work from Australia! Without any hesitation: 10/10!
Bangkok Hilton is a stunning series. Denholm Elliot gives one of the finest acting performances I've ever seen, and the plot has you gripped from the first episode right until the wonderful finish. It's been many many years since the BBC last showed it, though: a great shame!
Nicole Kidman .... Katrina Stanton
Denholm Elliott .... Hal Stanton
Hugo Weaving .... Richard Carlisle
Joy Smithers .... Mandy Engels
Norman Kaye .... George McNair
Jerome Ehlers .... Arkie Ragan
Pauline Chan (I) .... Pretty Warder
Noah Taylor .... Billy Engels
Richard Carter (I) .... Detective King
Gerda Nicolson .... Lady Faulkner
Judy Morris .... Catherine Faulkner
rest of cast listed alphabetically
John Alansu .... Thai Police Sergeant
Vincent Ball (I) .... British Attache
Ambika Baxter .... Immigration Officer, GOA
Lucy Bayler .... Sarah
David Bennett (IV) .... Sick Hospital Prisoner
Jonathan Biggins .... O'Keefe
Amir Blazey .... Indian Policeman
David Bookalil .... Minister
Somsak Boonpetch .... Thai Immigration Officer
Colin Borgonon .... English Journalist
Brian Bovell .... Postman
Brian Brady .... Mechanic
Tan Chandraviroj .... Maj. Sara
Cary Cowling .... Maj. Sara's agent #1
Adolfo Cruzado (III) .... Senior Guard
Joseph Dibbayawan .... Airport Security #2
Quang Dinh .... Priest
Wallas Eaton .... Gordon Fleming
Lewis Fiander .... James Stanton
Mishi Fukinishi .... Japanese Officer #2
Lachelle Gaymon .... Astra's Friend
Ron Hackett .... Senior British Officer
Amber Haidar .... Kat Aged 5
Norman Hodges .... Taxi Driver #1
Sally Hudson .... Qantas Ticket Clerk
Eliot Jurd .... Scruffy Boy
Tavit Karmolphachak .... Judge #1
Vachira Karmolphachak .... Airport Security #1
Ali Kay .... Carlisle's Servant
Clarissa Kaye-Mason .... Mrs. Cameron
Bogdan Koca .... Picture Editor
Forin Kool .... Thai Policeman
Lois Larimore .... American Woman at Airport
Deidre Lassau .... Miss Howell
Lin Chin Lee .... Gnut
Sinan Leong .... 1st Ticket Clerk, Bangkok
Tony Lo .... Night Guard
Gandhi MacIntyre .... Hotel Manager, GOA
Charlie Mallanoo .... Thai Court Officer
Lindsay McCormack .... Male Prisoner
Raina McKeon .... Cashier Luxury Hotel, GOA
Van Michael .... Thai Guard
Kazuhiro Muroyama .... Japanese Officer #1
Helen Mutkins .... Jane
Patricia Ng .... Boarding Clerk
Patrick Ng .... Storeholder
Maureen O'Shaughnessy .... Law Office Receptionist
Kirsten Overend .... Blonde with Arkie
Tipee Panchee .... Court Typist
Grace Parr .... Thai Thief
Arthur Percival .... Taxi Driver #2
Jay Pillay .... Air India Assistant, GOA
Don Reid (III) .... Doctor
Monroe Reimers .... Indian Major
Jaime Robertson .... War Records Office, Private
Vasant Sanpardith .... Judge #2
John Sheerin .... Quantas Manager
Michael Sinclair .... Sir Richard
Zahrina Snell .... Departure Clerk, GOA
Ron Stephenson (I) .... War Records Office Corporal
Saravut Tantiprasut .... Maj. Sara's agent #2
Michael Tauro .... Prison Patient
Deborah Unger .... Astra
William Usic .... British Corporal
Vanessa Walton .... Arkie's New Girl
Ram Worton .... Anat
Chin Yu (IV) .... Thai Doctor
Sylvia Yuen .... 2nd Ticket Clerk, Bangkok
Runtime: USA:240 min