Picks and Pans Review: The Beautiful Country

UPDATED 07/18/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/18/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

Damien Nguyen, Bai Ling, Nick Nolte, Tim Roth

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A 20-year-old Vietnamese man (Nguyen) sets off on an arduous journey to find his American G.I. father in this affecting, gorgeously shot movie about wanting to know who you are, no matter the cost. Although initially the film tells a familiar story, it gains power and depth, leading to a quiet but emotionally satisfying finish. There are excellent performances by American-raised Nguyen, Ling as a resourceful tripmate, Roth as a refugee ship's captain, and Nolte as the father the young man is seeking. (R)

DRAMA

Murderball
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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When it comes to colorful characters, suspense and heart, few Hollywood features can match this rousing documentary. It follows disabled athletes who play wheelchair rugby, a bruising sport they've dubbed murderball. "But you can't really market a game called murderball," explains Mark Zupan, a Team USA player who was paralyzed in a car accident at age 18. So to attract corporate bucks, the demolition derbylike indoor sport has been blandly renamed "quad rugby." Entertaining and inspirational, Murderball shows its athletes conquering challenges both specific to their situation (living independently) and universal (picking up girls). They're all winners, and so's the movie. (R)

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