Film / Paradise Road

"It is our Paradise Road...How silent is this place."

Paradise Road is a 1997 war film by Australian director Bruce Beresford. It charts the journey of a group of women from Australia, the USA, the UK and the Netherlands as they are taken prisoner by the Japanese in World War 2. One woman decides to start a vocal orchestra to lift the spirits of the inmates, but the domineering Japanese guards want to put a stop to it.

Based on stories of women who survived internment in Japanese POW camps, Paradise Road is a story of hope, courage and survival. It is studied in Australian schools as an example of conflict, Australian history and women's stories.

Tropes included in this film.

  • America Saves the Day: Topsy hopes 'her boys' will invoke this, and by dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki they kind of do.
    • Though Australia is mentioned to be chasing the Japanese soldiers around the Pacific Islands and this is arguably more threatening.
  • Break the Cutie: The movie.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Glenn Close's character is locked in a cage in full sun, and Cate Blanchett's character is made to kneel surrounded by spikes, in the Sumatran sun, for two days and a night.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dozens of Japanese fighter planes versus a passenger boat full of women and children.
  • Due to the Dead: The notable examples would be the first funeral in the camp where we get the first Title Drop, and Margaret/Daisy's funeral where the women, after being taunted by the Smug Snake, pick up stones and play a march.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Dr. Verstak keeps herself alive by broadcasting that she is a doctor. Toward the end of the movie, she reveals to the women that she is a doctor of philosophy. However, her husband was a physician and she does have some medical knowledge.
  • Plucky Girl: Susan Mc Carthy is the most obvious example but almost all the protagonists to some extent.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The bald Japanese guard who sings to Glenn Close, and the interpreter who was conscripted and used to be a schoolteacher.
  • Smug Snake: The Japanese Secret Police member.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The British characters.
  • Title Drop: Starts off as something vaguely hopeful when Margaret gives the eulogy at Wing's funeral but ends up a euphemism for dying.