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Listings are for Friday 10/20 through Thursday 10/26
The Great Raid
This true-to-life war pic teaches us about a little known historical raid on a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. Although little more than a historical footnote, it was actually the most successful raid of World War II. James Franco plays a captain in the Rangers who is assigned to rescue some 500 POWs from a brutal prison camp in the waning days of W.W.II. Joseph Fiennes plays a malaria-ridden major trying to keep hope alive inside the prison camp. Connie Nielsen plays an American nurse sneaking medicine into the camp. The film waffles a bit between the gritty moment-by-moment tension leading up to the raid and the chaste romance between Fiennes and Nielsen. All of it is well-acted and well-directed, although Nielsen's struggles in the Philippine underground (also based on a true incident) seem like a bit of a distraction from the film's central narrative. The film is old-fashioned wartime heroism along the lines of Bridge on the River Kwai
, but isn't likely to win too many awards at the Tokyo International Film Fest. R.