Paradise Road (Director's Cut)

20th Century Fox Released 1997


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Paradise Road (Director's Cut)

Movie Summary

Bruce Beresford
Paradise Road (Director's Cut) is the story of a group of women held as prisoners of war in Sumatra during World War II. Adrienne Pargiter (Glenn Close), Dr. Verstak (Frances McDormand), missionary Margaret Drummond (Pauline Collins), American socialite Topsy Merritt (Julianna Margulies), Rosemary Leighton-Jones (Jennifer Ehle), Australian nurse Susan McCarthy (Cate Blanchett) and Imogene Roberts (Elizabeth Spriggs) are fleeing Singapore when Japanese forces attack in 1942. The women are mostly the wives of servicemen. They load up on a gunboat setting out for Australia, but an air attack sinks the boat and the survivors find themselves on a beach in Sumatra where they are imprisoned. The conditions of the POW camp are harsh and even minor breaks in the rules are dealt with extreme consequences. The women band together and dub themselves a vocal orchestra, an a cappella chorus, though singing is not allowed. The music helps keep their spirits up during the three and a half years they are imprisoned, though food is scarce and the living conditions are dirty and diseased. The film is based on actual events which writer-director Bruce Beresford gleaned from interviews with POW survivors. The film won a Golden Tripod award in 1998 for feature productions cinema from the Australian Cinematographers Society.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Variety Emanuel Levy

    Though carefully rendered from a historical perspective, this powerful account of female friendship and bonding under the most cruel conditions lacks the narrative focus and dramat...

  • 60

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    In trying to keep track of everybody while providing enough melodrama to sustain an atmosphere of controlled terror, Paradise Road stumbles all over itself and never really finds i...

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    A warmhearted horror show that puts cliched movie people into a realistic situation, the signals it sends out are nothing but mixed.

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Military & War, alaska