If you are looking for a "prison movie", look elsewhere. This is like Melrose in Prison, which could be good except in this movie it really just isn't.First off, the name Brokedown Palace comes from an off-hand comment by a no-name actress real early in the movie. This phrase is used once. This is as deep as this movie gets.
Is this really what it is like in a women's prison in Thailand? As long as you don't touch the fruit you are free to roam around, smoke grass and bribe prison guards???
As I watched this movie I kept thinking of Chained Heat (1983), starring Linda Blair.
In Chained Heat, Linda Blair is a woman who killed someone (by mistake) and has to serve a minor prison term. While in jail she encounters lesbians galore and is involved in at least two solid catfights.
In Brokedown Palace, Claire Danes (oddly resembling Dumbo here) sits behind a chain link fence and cries earnestly. There are no catfights and the lesbianism is latent, at best. Perhaps in the sequel Claire could work on her dyke side.
Actually, Danes doesn't do too bad with what she has to work with. There are no signs of the compulsion she has of constantly brushing her hair behind her ears (a talent displayed so prominently in My So Called Life.)
The problem with this movie is that it is mind-numbingly predictable. It has no edge whatsoever. You know from the start that nobody in this movie will escape a happy ending.
When Bill Pullman decides to come to the rescue (after officially dropping the case) it is already a forgone conclusion where we're headed.
The whole thing is such assembly-line bullshit that it makes me want to retch even now. I had to watch Zero Effect again to remind myself that Bill Pullman is a GREAT fucking actor. In Brokedown Palace he might as well be a prop. Nobody could have acted himself out of this shitty role. I'd like to see Nicholson in this role, to watch him sweat.
Save your money and rent Chained Heat. Sybil Danning is hot and Linda Blair shows just a whole lot of cleavage.Brokedown Palace is a tepid and uninspiring story of two women unjustly sent to a Thai prison. The acting is just good enough to recommend to fans of the genre. As long as you're sure you know what genre you are in.