Thursday, July 28, 2022

‘Paradise Highway’ wastes two great actors

A movie that features Juliette Binoche and Morgan Freeman in prominent roles is bound to tempt viewers who otherwise might not care about a pulpy story in which a long-distance truck driver (Binoche) tries to rescue a girl (Hala Finley) from a ring of sex-traffickers. Freeman plays a former lawman who steps out of retirement to aid in the search for Binoche's Sally and the girl, who take to the road in Sally’s semi. The cast also includes Frank Grillo as Sally's imprisoned brother. On the eve of his release, he asks Sally to transport some illicit cargo so that he can square himself with a gang that's threatening his life. Shocked and unsettled, Sally learns that the cargo is a girl who’s bound for sex slavery. Reluctantly, Sally opts to save the girl. I'll say no more except to note that I found it painful to watch two terrific actors saddled with lame dialogue. Moreover, Binoche is miscast as a foul-mouthed, tough-minded long haul driver, a role deprives of her of the ambiguous allure that has drawn us closer in so many movies. Too often, Freeman is stuck bantering with his younger partner (Cameron Monaghan) as they try to save the girl. I think you can guess the girl’s fate but neither Binoche nor Freeman can save the movie.

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