Cinema: To Stay Alive

King Rat pumps new energy into the seemingly endless cycle of World War II film dramas, most of which are committed to tight-lipped heroics and epic battle scenes. This brutal,-unforgettable essay on the morality of survival in a Japanese prison camp is made of stronger stuff. While retaining the scenario form of James Clavell's 1962 novel, Writer-Director Bryan Forbes (Seance on a Wet Afternoon) often goes Clavell one better in the harsh words and harsher images that synthesize the horrors of Changi, an isolated compound near Singapore where 10,000 inmates struggle against starvation,...

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