True story chronicling the experiences of New York Times reporter, Sidney Schanberg (Waterston), who with his assistant Dith Pran (Dr. Haing S. Ngor), covers the growing unrest in Cambodia, until the 1975 take-over by Khmer Rouge guerrillas forces him to evacuate. Unfortunately, Dith Pran has a worse fate; he endures years of torture and confinement during the ensuing genocide before attempting a daring escape.
This is a harrowing tale of man's appalling cruelty to man, one that would seem incredible were it not true. Director Joffe crafts an authentic and intelligent portrayal of individual heroism, as Pran overcomes enormous hardship and suffering to seize his chance for freedom. Both Waterston and Ngor (a non-professional actor who won an Oscar) are outstanding. A disturbing but important film.