Peter Weir’s ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’, starring Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt, is an underrated romantic drama set in the backdrop to Indonesia’s political unrest in the mid-1960s when the country was making its transition to the so-called ‘New Order’. The film, based on the novel by Christopher Koch, was, therefore, banned in Indonesia until 1999.
By way of the introduction, the film quickly centres on Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson), a young, somewhat idealistic Australian journalist sent to Indonesia on the mission to gather in-depth information on the politically-unstable country, then governed by President Sukarno. While there, Guy strikes friendship with Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt), a cameraman, who supports Guy and helps him to gather intelligence for his articles through his personal contacts. Soon, Guy becomes romantically involved with Jill Bryant (Sigourney Weaver), a British Embassy officer. As the situation in Indonesia worsens and Guy and Jill’s attachment deepens, the audience witnesses personal tragedies and new-found joys unfold.