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Click above to purchase "Paradise Road" at amazon.com

 

Paradise Road

review by Tony Medina

Rated R

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 132 minutes

Starring Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Julianna Margulies

Written and Directed by Bruce Beresford

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search

Several years before Glenn Close decided to wash that man right out of her hair as Nellie Forbush in the 2001 TV Adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific", she was once again involved in World War II but this time, she was a prisoner of the Japanese.

This film based on a true stories deals with a group of women who are held as Japanese Prisoners of War during World War 2. The scenarios unfolds the true story of women from different backgrounds who become united during their capture in Sumatra.

What exists here is a common bond in the face of peril. As in anyone's life, tragedy can bring us closer together and no matter what social, financial or ethical background we are from, we all face the same common grounds in the journey called life.

In all honesty, this story which is touching can be very difficult to watch as the dark side always looms even when moments of bonding or made up happiness exist.

"Paradise Road" is actually a symbolic name as the road is the road to freedom in their minds. You see, the women bond by creating the "Paradise Road Choir." The choir is a form of therapy as the woman fear the unknown for their husbands and themselves. Throughout this three year ordeal, we grow to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the women involved and we see how they deal with the dark side and turn it into a lighter side if only in their minds.

The performances in this film are strong and you can feel the bond of chemistry amongst the performers. You can honestly sit through this and walk away believing they were who they were and not just performers playing a role.

The Anamorphic 2.35:1 Transfer is pristine. The colors are vibrant and the sets naturally leap out on the screen like a Kodak Picture. The sharpness and fleshtones are natural and the jungle looks as though I am looking out a window. The detail is well defined and the cinematography gets it's just desserts with this beautiful transfer.

The dialogue is very sharp and sounds natural. Most of the sound comes from the center channel speaker as this is definitely a dialogue film. There are some battle sequences at which the surround comes to life but throughout most of the film, there is not much surround usage that is needed. Throughout some background music, we hear the rear channels but then again, the effect the sound crew was achieving works as we are hear to pay attention to the trials and tribulations of the prisoners. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Mix offers very clear dialogue.

Other than a theatrical trailer, we are offered no extras. A director's commentary would have been pleasant as well as a featurette showing the history and the making of the film.

If you want a slice of history, some haunting and touching moments along with a story of survival, this film is for you. Good solid acting, wonderful cinematography and good chemistry bring to life the history that many of us read and so many lived through. This is not always an easy film to watch but then again, is the truth ever easy to accept?

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(.5/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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