- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Previously a specialist in crime thrillers, director John Dahl elevates his own career with The Great Raid, a great war movie in part because it concentrates on a relatively small-scale operation that lends itself to cinematic intimacy. This adept and stirring evocation of World War II is set in late January of 1945. The Japanese army in the Philippines is in systematic retreat from Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s forces and the Americans fear they will execute the prisoners of war they hold captive. A rescue team of U.S. Army Rangers and Filipino guerrillas sets out for the Cabanatuan camp, which still shelters about 500 survivors of the Bataan Death March of 1942. Suspenseful subplots observe the approach of the raiders, the condition of the POWs and the activities of anti-Japanese conspirators in Manila. All tensions culminate in a superlative night battle sequence, a new classic in its own right. Several performers also do themselves proud: Benjamin Bratt and James Franco as Ranger officers, Connie Nielsen and Joseph Fiennes as an unconsumed love match linking Manila and the camp, and Motoki Kobayashi and Gotaro Tsunashima as genuinely commanding Japanese adversaries.

Gary Arnold

The Canadian Embassy’s A Group of Seven: A Contemporary Look at the Canadian Landscape presents seven present-day Canadians Lois Andison, Lucie Duval, Renee Duval, Sylvie Fraser, Katharine Harvey, Francis LeBouthillier and Monique Mongeau—all cqreinterpret the work of the original “Group of Seven,” a band of early-20th-century Canadian painters whose romanticized vision of their country’s vast spaces created a unique Canadian landscape aesthetic. The current exhibit surprises with its mix of traditional and experimental mediums and styles — painting, photography and video — and provides an intriguing 21st-century perspective on Canada, still a place of wild, untamed beauty. At the Canadian Embassy, 502 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Free. 202/682-1740.

A Group of Seven: A Contemporary Look at the Canadian Landscape surprises with its mix of traditional and experimental mediums and styles. Through painting and sculpture as well as photography and video, these seven Canadians — Lois Andison, Lucie Duval, Renee Duval, Sylvie Fraser, Katharine Harvey, Francis LeBouthillier and Monique Mongeau — created a unique Canadian landscape aesthetic in the 1920s. At the Canadian Embassy, 502 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Free. 202/682-1740.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

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