Killing Fields SE, The
During the war between the Red Khmer and the government, Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is working as a war correspondent for the New York Times in Cambodja. For his work he gets the help of Dith Pran (Haing S. Ngor), a Cambodjan journalist who helps him to get to places where other can’t come and therefore he also gets to see the horror of the war before anyone else. Next to that, Pran also makes sure Sydney’s articles get out of the country without any problems.
As thanks for his help, Sydney arranges for Pran and his family to get out of the country together with the rest of the Americans as things are getting too dangerous to stay. However, Pran decides not to leave and continue helping Sydney. When little later both of them get captured by the Red Khmer, they witness gruesome murders and expect the same to happen to themselves aswell. Luckily, Pran’s begging gets them released and they manage to get to the French embassy where the message arrives that all foreigners have to leave while only those with a legit passport can stay. Despite having a fake English passport, Pran has to flee while Sydney and the others return to America.
Sydney feels guilty about having to let his friend in Cambodja and he tries to find out what happened to Pran. Meanwhile, Pran has been taken by the Red Khmer and set to work in a labour camp where he’s going through hell. Finally, he manages to escape but he ends up in the Killing Fields, rice fields that are filled with corpses of thousands of adults that are rotting away. During his trip, the only thing that keeps Pran sane is talking in his mind with his good friend Sydney and his family.
Sound and Vision:
Again we get to see a remastered High Definition version done by Warner Brothers. Except for some scenes that are shot with filters, the image is very sharp, has good contrast and decent shadow detail. Some minor dirt and scratches are present but overall the image is good although it looks a bit dated and contains a continuous small amount of grain. Compression errors are reduced to a minimum.
The original Stereo track has been remastered to 5.1 but sounds a bit dated and is focused towards the front speakers. The dialogues are clear and understandable while the rear speakers are only used subtle for a little extra atmosphere. The fact that at certain scenes the effects do come out of the rear rather aggressively makes that these effects don’t really blend in nicely with the rest of the sound. The good news about the soundtrack is that the subwoofer nicely supports the overall track and the music from Mike Oldfield is clearly present. The DTS track is a bit better than the 5.1 track due to a better spreading of the sound.
Disc 1: Trailer, photo gallery, biographies of Dith Pran, Sam Waterston, Haing S.Ngor and John Malkovich
Disc 2: Documentary: The BBC created a special documentary on The Killing Fields that tells the story of the real journalists. This documentary shows the same story as the movie but with real footage and the real characters. Also footage of the shooting of the movie is included aswell as interviews with cast and crew. Very interesting to watch.
The Killing Fields are released as a special edition by Indies and this version is clearly better than the original one. Not only because of the enhanced image and sound but also the additional documentary is worth checking this dvd out. The movie itself is a classic tale of horror and the fact that these things happened in real life makes things only more horrific. A must-have.