Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Damages, Glen Close and Paradise Road

AdventureMan and I could hardly wait to get home – we started Glen Close’s Damages, a critically acclaimed, award winning legal drama that hit the screen in 2007, but only recently came out in DVD form. As I am always on the watch for series that will grip us – and give us hours of speculation and conversation over dinner – I snapped this one up en route back to Kuwait, knowing with Ramadan here, we would have quiet hours we could spend watching.

Holy. Smokes. Damages is gripping. Damages is amazing. Damages has you sitting on the edge of your chair, and panting for more!

You have to get used to the cinematic style – we start in the present and throughout the entire 13 episodes, we go back into the past – from years ago to months ago to weeks ago, as we get closer to the end – days ago – to follow the career of new lawyer Ellen Parsons, as she goes to work for the top-of-the-heap firm Hewes and Associates. Hewes, played by Glen Close, is simply breathtaking.

Hewes and Associates are in the process of going after Arthur Frobisher, an egomaniacal developer who, similar to other big rich crooks in the US, took his funds out of his company when he had inside information it was about to tank, leaving his 500 employees unemployed, pension fund bankrupt and without the financial security they had invested in for so long. We know there is more going on here, and from week to week, we learn a little more of the puzzle. The puzzle is intricate and complex, and with each episode – man, the hook is set. We are addicted.

We hurried through the last three episodes to share it with some good friends who appreciate the same kinds of shows we do. We look forward to sharing it with our son, who shared Deadwood with us – it’s that good. It’s Deadwood level.

Glen close plays Patty Hewes as a driven, hard working woman, feared, admired and hated in a field which allows little room for mistakes. Part of what keeps you coming back is the revealing of all the different layers of her personality – the vulnerable mother, the trophy wife, the tough-minded head of her firm, the manipulator of all around her. Her motto (reminiscent of the old X-files) is Trust No One. We certainly have questions about how far we can trust her.

Did she try to have her protegee murdered?

We can hardly wait for Season 2.

UPDATE: 22 Sep 08 Last night Glen Close won Best Actress in a Drama (Emmy Awards) for her role as Patty Hewes.

Did you ever see Glen Close in Fatal Attraction? Did you see her as the police chief in The Shield? She is the most amazing actress, such subtlety in her expression, such vulnerability, such toughness.

My very favorite movie with her in it is Paradise Road.

It has to do with a boatload of women and children, and how they survive in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. I don’t buy a lot of movies, but I bought this one – it’s that good. You can watch it once a year and feel equally inspired every time you watch it.

This is from Wikipedia and is a summary of the movie Paradise Road:

Singapore falls to the Japanese in 1942 and the women and children are put on boats to be shipped to safety. Japanese fighters, however, sink one boat and those on board must swim for their lives. Landing on the Japanese controlled island of Sumatra, the women, including Adrienne Pargiter (Glenn Close), a British graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Susan Macarthy (Cate Blanchett), an Australian nursing student, Topsy Merrit (Julianna Margulies), a pessimistic American, and “Margaret” Drummond (Pauline Collins), a sweet missionary, are captured and imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp. Suffering from cruel and inhumane treatment, tropical diseases and the uncertainty of their future, the women band together for moral support. Others, including Dr. Verstak (Frances McDormand) and Sister Wilhelminia (Johanna Ter Steege) do what they can to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of the group. As the years pass, the women, led by Adrienne, form a “vocal orchestra” that not only softens the guards’ demeanor, but also lifts the women’s spirits as it provides a purpose in their lives.[1]

Paradise Road announces itself in large print to be “based on a true story”. The film is said to be centred on a group of women who are on a ship fleeing Singapore. Having survived the bombing and sinking of the ship they think that “the worst is over”, but they find that the tough times are in the prison camp, and that is when they face their harshest test of survival. However, when introducing viewers to setting and characters, and getting the characters into a prison camp, Paradise Road makes an obvious change from true incidents.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Character, Community, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues | 8 Comments