7:08 pm
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Opinion / Letters
  Arts / Entertainment
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  DJ Designers
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
Torture focus at film festival
September 20, 2013, 05:00 AM By Jake Coyle The Associated

TORONTO — A year after the debate stirred up by the torture scenes of “Zero Dark Thirty,” several films at the Toronto International Film Festival are taking up stories of torture and prisoner rights with obvious contemporary relevance.

In “Prisoners,” a rage-crazed father (Hugh Jackman) locks away the man (Paul Dano) he believes has kidnapped his daughter. “The Railway Man” looks at the lasting demons of a British officer (Colin Firth) who was water-boarded and tortured by the Japanese during World War II in Thailand.

Whereas “Zero Dark Thirty” sought to directly depict the interrogation techniques used by the United States in pursuit of Osama bin Laden (and found controversy for, many claimed, suggesting that torture paid intelligence dividends), these new films approach the subject more broadly and metaphorically. By contemplating the perspectives of both torturer and victim, they dig into questions of morality, revenge, forgiveness and human dignity.

In “Prisoners,” a father who will do anything for his missing daughter stands in for a vengeful America: National issues are told through a domestic lens. The Quebec director Denis Villeneuve responded to Aaron Guzikowski’s script because, he says, of how it “raised moral questions about our actions in the world.”

“I thought it was a pretty accurate portrait of North America today,” Villeneuve said in an interview. “It was pretty brilliant the way Aaron Guzikowki was describing tensions and moral questions that as North Americans we are dealing with. But he was approaching it from an intimate point of view.”

The film, which Warner Bros. will release Sept. 20, is about the varied reactions of a suburban community after two young girls go missing. When police, lacking evidence, are forced to release their chief suspect, Jackman’s father boards him up in a vacant building where he tries through different means of brutality to coerce him to talk.

“It was very much in the DNA of the script,” says Jackman of the film’s allegory. “What are the boundaries to justice on a national level? To act or not, to follow a gut instinct that you’re doing the right thing?”

Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays a police detective trying to navigate both the pursuit of the kidnapper and the rights of the case’s suspects, says the film’s themes don’t mean the movie is trying to weigh in on arguments about Guantanamo Bay or the treatment of captured terrorists. Rather, he says, it’s about the emotions underneath.

“I don’t think it’s politicized,” Gyllenhaal says. “It just brings it all the way back to the home.”

“The Railway Man,” which is based on the 1995 memoir by Eric Lomax, premiered at Toronto seeking distribution. Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and co-starring Nicole Kidman as Lomax’s wife, it’s about a man traumatized years after WWII by his experience as a prisoner of war.

As seen in flashbacks with Jeremy Irvine as the young Lomax, he was among the POWs forced to gruelingly work on the Thai-Burma railway. After an incident, he’s beaten, kept in a bamboo cage and water-boarded.

Years later, when Lomax learns the identity and whereabouts of his torturer, he must decide if he’ll reciprocate the same treatment on his former captor (Hiroyuki Sanada). Another film at the Toronto Film Festival, the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” also focuses on whether the unjustly imprisoned should seek payback through violence.

“These are very live issues,” Frank Cottrell Boyce, who wrote the script to “The Railway Man” with Andy Patterson, told reporters in Toronto.” This isn’t just about a forgotten moment in history. The way that Eric was tortured was water-boarding. When we first started working on this film that seemed like a kind of antique, remote thing, and now, it’s part of how we do business in the West.”



Tags: about, toronto, after, railway, lomax, script,

Other stories from today:


Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
Return To Archives

Daily Journal Quick Poll
What's the best thing about the Super Bowl?

The game itself
The commercials
The half-time show
The game, the commercials and the half-time show
Having or going to a party


San Mateo Community College District
Strong quake hits Taiwan, many trapped in toppled building
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at lea..
US added just 151k jobs in Jan.; unemployment at 4.9 pct.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy added 151,000 jobs in January, a slowdown from recent months but sti..
Jobs report helps ease concerns a recession might be nearing
WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing is shrinking, corporate profits are declining and goods are piling..
Julian Assange claims total vindication with UN panel ruling
LONDON — A little-known United Nations human rights panel has sided with WikiLeaks founder Julian ..
More >>  
©2016 San Mateo Daily Journal
South San Francisco news