The island of Ambon in Indonesia, 1945. During the War, the number of Australian POWs on the island had dropped from 1100 to less than 300 due to abuses by their Japanese captors. Capt. ...
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The island of Ambon in Indonesia, 1945. During the War, the number of Australian POWs on the island had dropped from 1100 to less than 300 due to abuses by their Japanese captors. Capt. Cooper is the chief prosecutor. In a mass grave, the bodies of 300 executed servicemen have been unearthed. Cooper assumes that the massacre was ordered by Baron Takahashi, Japanese commander on Ambon. But the one potential witness has gone mad and is due to be shipped back to Australia. No captured airmen were found alive on the island at all, not even the four-man crew of a reconnaissance plane shot down late in the War. Takahashi is returned to the island in the custody of an American officer, Maj. Beckett. But there is little evidence with which to prosecute the Baron. Cooper thinks he could make a case for the missing airmen if only their bodies could be located. And why does Maj. Beckett appear interested in not seeing Takahashi convicted? Cooper gets a break when Lt. Tanaka, a communications ...Written by
The composition of the execution shot is based on a photo of the execution of an Australian soldier, Sergeant Leonard Siffleet. The photo was found in the possessions of a dead Japanese soldier. The original was published in LIFE magazine and can be seen on the Australian War memorial website (collections ID number 101099). See more »
Closed in by inherent limitations, but very well-acted and structured.
There's an underlying factor about the design of a film like "Prisoners of the Sun" that doesn't allow for much leeway or originality. Much like similar films in this vein, the clichéd factors are unavoidable. There's to be the prosecutor with anger issues, the stoic (and typically un-convictable) evil leader, and finally, the sacrificial lamb.
So, as it is with "Breaker Morant", the quality lies directly with those actors involved. Don't be fooled by Russell Crowe's recent high billing - he is certainly not a star. In fact, he is very nearly unnoticeable amidst the larger happenings around him. The main standout performances belong to Bryan Brown and John Polson. Polson, certainly, gives a lot to the role. He is broken, nervous and jumpy, and highly convincing.
The development is rather predictable, I suppose, but the acting manages to carry it through. Overall, this is a good film - not great, but well considered.
RATING: 6.9 out of 10
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