This is a perennial favorite because of the scenery (it’s set in Burma, shot in Malaysia), because of the strong heroine, and because of the mix of politics and adventure.
Laura (Arquette) is dragged to “the mysterious East” by her sister in hopes she’ll forget about the deaths of her husband and son. She gets trapped in Burma by the political conflict between pro-democracy protesters, and the military arm of the government.
She befriends Ang Ko (played by his namesake) who is her tour guide—and ours—to the repression in Burma. The movie becomes an adventure movie when Laura realizes she can’t get out of the country under normal circumstances, the American embassy having been demolished.
Boorman fans will appreciate some of his unique signatures, like a prominent river, and his son Charley in a cameo role.