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“Paradise Highway”

 

 

Written Review by John Delia

If you are looking for a film with a lot of gripping scenes that keep you glued to the screen, then check out Paradise Highway. It’s a thriller involving human trafficking that puts a good deal of light on one of the most sickening of crimes of our day. Although the crime has been batted around in the news of late due to our US southern border, this film takes you into the danger and intimacy surrounding one vulnerable young girl that became a victim from closer to home.

Morgan Freeman and Juliette Binoche as Sally in Paradise Highway. Photo Credit: Nick Burchell

Sally (Juliette Binoche), a truck driver by trade, has been visiting her brother Dennis (Frank Grillo) who has been behind bars in a prison for some time. She has been helping to keep him safe in the confines by doing favors for the crime lords who have threatened him. On this one occasion we find Dennis pleading for her to pick up a special package and deliver it to where the person needs it to go. He says it will help him in his early release.

When she gets to the pick-up point, she finds out the package is a young pre-teen Leila (Hala Finley) who is being trafficked, Director and writer Anna Gutto gets to the premise quickly then takes her audience on a wild ride as Sally and Leila find themselves in peril at every turn including a murder that would put them in jeopardy with the law. I like the way Gutto frames her story and makes it believable enough to keep the viewers convinced and dumbfounded. Not making the mistake of rushing her dangerous road trip, it gives the audience much needed dialogue that keeps Paradise Highway a pulsating winner.

Hala Finley as Leila and Juliette Binoche as Sally in Paradise Highway. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Juliette Binoche, known for her captivating dramas like Chocolate and The English Patient, gives an excellent performance as the hardened truck driver. She loves her brother so much she would even do this last effort to save him from death at the hands incarcerated hit men. It’s a role that needs the extra effort to make it believable, and she nails it.

As the young girl not in control of her destiny, Hala Finley as Leila gets a chance to be convincing as the powerless child. Feeling the terror of helplessness and being cornered at every turn, her Leila has to take chances just to stay alive. The role calls for her to fight to defend herself showing her feisty side, and Hala delivers many unexpected scenes.

Juliette Binoche as Sally and Hala Finley as Leila in Paradise Highway. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Special Features:
“Director’s Commentary”
“Deleted Scenes” with Optional Director’s Commentary
“Making of Paradise Highway”

Paradise Highway has been rated R for language throughout and some violence. The violence gets a bit raw and sometimes bloody. It like the film enough to give it 4 out of 5 Stars.

(L-R) Cameron Monaghan as Special Agent Finley Sterling and Morgan Freeman as Gerick in the thriller film, PARADISE HIGHWAY, a Lionsgate release. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Frank Grillo, Hala Finley, Cameron Monaghan, Veronica Ferres, Christine Seidel and Morgan Freeman
Directed and Written by: Anna Gutto
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some violence
Running Time: 1 hr 55 min.
Video Release Date: September 6, 2022
Language: English
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: Aspect Ratio 2.39:1, 16×9
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Released on: Blu-ray. DVD, Digital

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