Path to Paradise Review

“Great. Freedom of religion protects a bunch of murdering fanatics. And if these guys feel like blowing us off with a line of sermon there’s not a goddamn thing we can do about it. Back home the police would be shoving barb wire up their asses. No wonder they all come here.”
“America. A great place to live if you’re a terrorist.”

This movie is pretty damn eerie, considering it was released in 1997. It’s impossible to ignore the foreshadowings this film reeks of.

Man, the acting in this, it’s of a quality I’m not sure I’ve seen before. You know how there’s mellow serious downplayed acting? You know how there’s over-the-top overdramatic acting? The acting in this film somehow sits between both of those, slightly leaning towards the over-dramatic side. It’s, just, weird. I wanted to laugh at it, but it wasn’t quite over-dramatic enough to laugh at. Has anyone else seen a film where the acting is like that? Like it’s almost too goofy to be good, and almost too good to be goofy? It’s like they wanted to make this a 90s comic book style film, with some energetic comic acting like with Dick Tracey and Darkman, but they didn’t want to quite go that far. I’m not sure if the acting in this is down-to-Earth or overdone anymore than I’m sure of Tommy Wiseau being a human or an alien pretending to be human. It’s like if M. Night Shyamalan gave a little more effort into making his actors act like real people.


The direction and camerawork further supports my theory that the director was trying to shoot this film like a 90s comic book adaptation, with dramatic zoom-ins of the face at just the right moments, close-ups wide shots of faces during interviews.

But I’m not going to consider any of the above a con, because at the very least, it kept the film entertaining. Plus it was paced quite well. It has that great bit of dialogue I quoted at the top that would either make people shake their heads in agreement, sigh in dismay at it, or laugh at it. There’s a couple bits of dialogue that are like that which could create drastic different viewing experiences for each individual who watches it.

I did get an interesting idea from watching this movie though. They make movies about tense scenes disarming bombs. Can’t they make a movie about the tensity of guys creating bombs, knowing how things can go wrong and cause themselves to get killed in an explosion? Then again, I guess that wouldn’t be politically correct, because critics could make the argument that people shouldn’t be feeling tense during scenes like that because that indicates they don’t want to see an explosion go off that kills the bomb-makers. However, one could make the alternative argument that the tension is created from the hopes that they will mess up and blow themselves up, and so the viewer watches eagerly to see that happen. Either way, any audience member would feel tension from a scene like that. I guess the closest we have to something like that is Wages of Fear, and Sorcerer.

But anyway, I guess I’m not talking very much about the content of the movie itself. I’ll just say it’s a good solid prequel to the film The Path to 9/11, which can be watched right after this one for chronological viewing. It chronicles the events from the 1990 assassination of a radical jew leader and how it’s connected to the terrorists who would later go on to bomb the world trade center in 1993, goes through the actual bombing, further plots that they had for bombings in or around New York (such as the Holland Tunnel), and ends with the arrest of the blind asshole sheik and several of his conspirators. It’s a solid entertaining watch. Have to admit though, the actual bombing sequence was pulled off better in The Path to 9/11. But it does expand on events leading up to it that The Path to 9/11 only glosses over, especially the blind sheik. But it demonstrates the same thing that the other film did, showing lack of communication and/or cooperation between FBI, CIA, and other government agencies and law enforcement which creates such frustration. It’s interesting listening to some of the conversations that go on in this film, considering that this was made prior to 9/11, and how eerie some of it gets.

Remember, this was released in 1997.

Rating: 4/5

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