Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Director: Adam Kane
Starring: James Van Der Beek,Wendy Crewson,John Heard
Studio: Screen Media
MPAA rating: R (Restricted)
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Inspired by true events, when a Taiwanese-American professor is murdered, FBI agent Jake Kelly (James Van Der Beek) races to track the killers back to Taiwan. Kelly soon finds himself immersed in a dangerous conspiracy as he dodges forces ranging from the U.S. State Department to the Chinese Mafia. A gripping thriller, Formosa Betrayed delivers an unbelievable true story that must be heard.
One of the best political thrillers I’ve seen in a long time
Saw this film at the Montreal Film Festival. I think it’s one of thebest political thrillers I’ve seen in many years. Did not know muchabout the history of Taiwan, but the film brought me back to the early80s with it’s Cold War references. The cinematography was excellent andyou felt the film was epic in scope.
Was particularly impressed by the performances. James Van Der Beekmakes a starring turn as FBI Agent Jake Kelly. He does a great jobcarrying the film. Wendy Crewson and John Heard remind me of manybureaucrats I’ve met over the years. Will Tiao gives a heartbreakingperformance as Ming, the waiter/dissident. What happens to hischaracter is so devastating it made me cry. Reminds me of Haing Ngor’sperformance in "The Killing Fields." The rest of the supporting cast isoutstanding.
In fact, this movie reminded me a lot of "The Killing Fields" which Ithink this movie is for Taiwan as that movie was for Cambodia.Definitely a must see film if you love political thrillers.
A much-needed reality check for many Americans.
I saw this film at the St. Louis International Film Festival and couldnot have been more impressed. I left the theater with countlessquestions and consequently could not stop talking about US-Taiwanrelations for weeks. I am sure this is what the filmmakers intended.
I find it shocking that I do not know a single person from mygeneration (even among student peers who claim to be more passionateabout foreign affairs than the average American) who has even heard ofthe name "Formosa"not to mention that China currently has hundreds ofmissiles pointed at the island from its side of the Taiwan Strait, orthat the U.S. has promised to unconditionally defend Taiwan in anysituation of armed attack. I therefore feel certain the majority ofAmericans will relate perfectly to James Van Der Beek’s character,Agent Kelly, who also knows absolutely nothing about the subjectmatter.
Agent Kelly receives a brutal reality check in Taipei, and so willAmerican audiences when they see this film. I am sure my peers willleave the theater just as eager to ask questions and to learn moreabout Taiwan as I was. The filmmakers do not seek to teach a perfecthistory lesson through documentary but rather to tell a dramatic storythat will catch Americans’ attention, inspire dialogue, and encouragethem to better educate themselves on this important issue. In thisregard, James Van Der Beek, Will Tiao and Wendy Crewson’s performancesare all highly effective. The nonlinear narrative furthermore forcesaudiences to more actively engage themselves with the film andaccordingly with the larger issues presented. Overall, I would call"Formosa Betrayed" a huge success.
WOW Why Isn’t This Getting a Larger Release
I managed to see Formosa Betrayed at a film festival and was reallyblown away. Political suspense films rarely grip you this much whilestill holding onto their intelligence. Wherever you are you must try toget to a theater to see this or anticipate the DVD release because itis not one to miss. Many political thrillers get bogged down intechnicalities or are just idiotic in their execution, but FormosaBetrayed hits every right note. I was skeptical too when I saw JamesVan Der Beek was the star, but he truly rises to the occasion. WillTiao also amazed me despite the fact that he is essentially unknown.Formosa Betrayed takes you through a whirlwind of action, suspense, andthe fight for justice. Get out to the theaters on February 26th to seeit; you won’t regret it!
Great Movie. Surpassed my expectations!!!
Hey Crapone! You should see the movie for yourself instead of makingthings out from the internet! Obviously you haven’t read FormosaBetrayed book either.
Uganda Genocide, Armenian Genocide, Tibetan Genocide, Darfur Genocide,Muslim Uyghur Turks Genocide… The truth will always prevail. Whenpeople learn to admit the truth, then we can all forgive and move on.
Movies have a way of teaching us the truth in people and this movieshould be recognized for it’s excellence in story, acting, filming andfor showing the truth.
Thank you for putting your money, time and effort in making this film!
Peace to all : ) … even for all you haters out there!
Incredibly well done movie
When I saw a small advertising in my local paper for this movie, I hadno idea what it was about. I thought it might be a documentary onFormosa before it became Taiwan. How wrong I was! I was totally blownaway by its contents, the actors, and the cinematography. I had littleknowledge of Taiwan’s history prior to seeing this film. It was a realeye opener. I also didn’t recognize most of the actors, except for JohnHeard. James Van Der Beek did an excellent job as the FBI agent JakeKelly. I am really surprised that the film was shown in San Jose (CA)at all because it seems most viewers have seen ‘Formosa Betrayed’ atfilm festivals. This movie should get a wider distribution since, in myopinion, it is very important to let everyone know what happened. Anabsolute MUST-SEE!
Please go see this film!
I saw "Formosa Betrayed" opening weekend in Berkeley, CA on 2/28/2010.There were many Taiwanese-Americans in the audience, some 60-75ish.During one point in the film where the story of the 2-28 incident istold to the main character, you could hear sniffling, coughing andpeople blowing their noses. This was an emotional moment for me and formany in the audience. An entire generation of Taiwanese was murdered,brutalized, and silenced. Those who attempt to write this movie off asmere profit-motivated propaganda are no different than those who woulddeny that the Holocaust ever happened. Don’t be fooled. This movie isimportant just as it is entertaining.
If you enjoy political thrillers, you will love this film. Thenon-linear narrative is excellent, and the story telling superb. Theuse of actual historical photos of the descent of Chiang Kai-Shek’sarmy on Taiwan, as well as photos of the brutality surrounding 2-28,and Nixon’s meeting with Mao are powerfully chilling.
James Van Der Beek’s performance as FBI Agent will blow you away. Inall honesty, Will Tiao’s acting could have been better, but give himcredit for the monumental task he accomplished in raising over $6million USD in private investor funds to get this independent filmmade. It was obviously a labor of love, and this fact shines through inevery moment of the final product, from the opening image of asatellite map of Taiwan to the the closing montage. For movie-goers whoprefer to learn something intellectually challenging through athought-provoking and entertaining film, please go see this movie.
Not a documentary. For non-Taiwanese
Its not hard to understand why some people took the movie as offensive.Although not a documentary, the movie has events that actually occurredin Taiwan’s recent history. Those brought up under KMT’s propagandacan’t believe such capable government can do such nasty things behindpeople’s back. 😀
There are so basic facts about the movie.
1. Not a documentary: Inspired by actual events, but not actual events.2. For non-Taiwanese audiences: Or those not-familiar with Taiwan andher background. This "Free China" was backed by the US to fightcommunists but at the expense of severely restricting human rights inTaiwan. 3. Not actual scenes: Unfortunately, due to funding and thepolitical situation in Taiwan, the set needs to be filmed elsewherethan Taiwan.
This movie is a must-see for those who wants to know more about Taiwanand even for those who knows nothing about Taiwan and wants to know theisland that makes everything in the 70s and 80s. People who calls it apropaganda is probably afraid of viewers will become interested andsearch for more info on the background of Taiwan, especially thosetimes under the rule of KMT. Human rights and justice are universalcommon values, however, the Taiwanese people was not able to enjoysuch.
I like this movie. I agree with some people that the scene doesn’t looklike Taiwan in 80′. It should’ve been more modern look, but the storyis just so good so I can forgive the settings. It reminds us not toforget that we are TAIWANESE, nothing to do with China. We have beenusing the name "Taiwan" for 100 years, and I am proud of it. We haveour own culture, language, food, government, law system, not to mentiondemocracy. How can you deny it is a country and very different fromChina. It is a shame that still some people don’t recognize Taiwan as aindependent country, even some Taiwanese, but I appreciate that a lotof people are trying to let people see us and value us.
The acting and editing are excellent. Also, the music at the end"Desire for Spring Breeze", the traditional Taiwanese song, just makesme cry.
A Movie with a Social Conscience
Formosa Betrayed is an excellent portrayal of the devastating historythat the people of Taiwan have endured over the years. A rich andfertile island that has been occupied by foreigners for most of itshistory, Taiwan’s history is entirely unknown to the vast majority ofAmericans. Thus, this film speaks volumes about the ignorance of manyAmericans toward the plight of the Taiwanese people who have beenseeking independence for centuries, and serves to educate the masseswho have the privilege of watching it. History is important, and thisfilm is a first class history lesson and a must see film.
As an International Relations major in college, I was struck by the wayin which this film depicted injustice in a manner that implicates (andrightly so) the American government as complicit in allowing theoppression of the Taiwanese people. The makers of this film have donean excellent job displaying the effects of power politics at theinternational level on smaller countries. Taiwan, a nation with adistinct identity separate from mainland China, has just as much of aright to be an independent nation as the United States did when itdeclared independence from Great Britain. Unfortunately for Taiwan, theUnited States cares more about its foreign relations with Taiwan’slarger neighbor China than it does about promoting justice, as embodiedthrough the independence of Taiwan.
This film is made all the more excellent through fantastic performancesby its leading actors, especially those of James Van Der Beek, WillTiao and Wendy Crewson. Furthermore, it’s extremely well made, and as apolitical action thriller it transcends a mere history channeldocumentary while sacrificing none of the content.
A native Tawanese want to say something..
As a native Taiwanese,here are my opinion:
1.The "Taiwanese" in the film can not speak Mandarin Chinese like thelocals(Taiwanese). And quite a majority of Taiwanese couldn’t speakEnglish so fluently then.
I was wondering why they didn’t find some more Taiwanese to participatein the film.
2.It is not a good fiction due to some ridiculous and illogical spots
3.The movie was actually adapted from some realincidents("江南案","陳文成事件").
4. The film does illustrate the historical situation in Taiwan then.這個電影的確有點出當時的歷史概念(儘管裡面套用的歷史有點問題)
5.As for me,I agree with the main point in this film.
Under the automatic rule,people in Taiwan,were always craving a freesociety and an authentic democratic nation.
PS. I don’t know whether all above are so-called spoilers or not…