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Patty Hearst - drama DVD / biography DVD / true crime DVD review
PATTY HEARST Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars

Actors: Natasha Richardson, William Forsythe, Ving Rhames, Dana Delany, Frances Fisher

Director: Paul Schrader   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 04 April 2011   Runtime: 103 minutes (1 disc)
Format: NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

Natasha Richardson as *Patty Hearst*I recall seeing footage of publishing heiress Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army robbing that bank in San Francisco in April of 1974. Had she been coerced into participating after her kidnapping by the SLA in February of the same year? The SLA released tapes by Hearst in which she denounced her parents and claimed allegiance to the urban militant group.

Paul Schrader's Patty Hearst attempts to shed light on some lingering questions about the incidents of the time, including her abduction, the bank robbery and arrest, with everything in between. Was it Stockholm Syndrome, the feelings of sympathy towards one's abductors, or was she really down with the cause?

That is left somewhat vague, though in the beginning it seemed like she was offered a clear choice between freedom or alliance with the SLA; in the end it seems like she was trying to save her own skin - it's hard to know. Patty Hearst herself is credited in the writing (the film was based on her book), so the film is likely to be somewhat biased.

Natasha Richardson plays Patty, and performing strongly in this early role, embodying the confusion that Hearst must have felt. Ving Rhames plays Cinque, the leader of the SLA when Hearst was nabbed, inhabiting the character with a power and confidence that would earn him roles in Pulp Fiction and Mission Impossible.

Extras include nothing. While I understand this feature isn't Citizen Kane, the chintzy packaging, crappy picture and lack of features seem to be part of MGM's plan to release the bulk of its catalog as fast as possible to raise money for The Hobbit and the next James Bond film. It's a pretty good film that could have used at least an interview or HBO First Look from the time of release to give the illusion that they gave a damn.
reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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