Don’t expect a Thai jail film the likes of Midnight Express and you might end up enjoying Brokedown Palace. None of the jail scenes are really that bad (though the Thai legal system does not come off well here) and my outrage and horror at the situation

What it all really boils down to is a film about friendship and how it can be tested. Watching all the twists and turns and challenges the friendship faces is something. It occasionally devolves into melodrama though stays the course more often than not.

Director Jonathan Kaplan really plays the innocents thrown into jail card heavy. A cautionary tale for non street wise youth. Don’t trust handsome strangers. Plenty of messages jammed in here, but without making you sick of them. They also hit home. He also ably manages a rather non traditional ending.

BFFs since almost birth. One crawled to the other as babies and they have been inseparable since. This despite the fact that the two are very different with one being outgoing and impulsive while the other is reserved. Now Alice (played by Claire Danes) and Darlene (played by Kate Beckinsale) are graduating high school and want to celebrate it by going on a big trip. Darlene tells her parents they are going to Hawaii but in actuality the two are heading off to Thailand.

After sneaking into a fancy hotel posing as guests there both Alice and Darlene fall for a charming and handsome young Australian named Nick Parks (played by Daniel Lapaine). After sleeping with him, Darlene convinces Alice to fly off to Hong Kong for a few days to meet up with him. At the airport they are arrested as the police find a bunch of cocaine in Alice’s bag.

They are thrown in jail, found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in jail. Darlene’s father (played by Tom Amandes) cannot get them out. Everything seems hopeless until their story catches the attention of American lawyer, Hank Greene (played by Bill Pullman).