God Grew Tired of Us
R1 - America - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (5th September 2007).
The Film

When I moved from Ottawa to Seoul, I wasn't too worried about adjusting because, although the cultures were different, I knew that, there, I would find all the same things I had in Ottawa - cars, buildings and, well, electricity. This documentary follows a small group of Lost Boys on their way from a refugee camp in Kenya to their new lives in the United States. Lost Boys is the name given to thousands upon thousands of children that left their native Sudan and went to Ethiopia, then Kenya, after civil war broke out in 1983 and their parents were killed by various armies.

For fifteen years, these young children traveled form refugee camp to refugee camp. The movie focuses on 3 particular refugees. The US decided to help out a few of them by bringing them to Syracuse and Philadelphia. As we learn, their journey is anything but simple.

In a strange land, they have to adjust to their new city. They try to understand such exotic things as cucumbers, Christmas trees and light switches. They have to adapt to a place where merchants complain because they enter stores in groups. They have to adapt from the communal, slow life in their refugee camp to the fast, individualistic life in Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

They all work hard but they all adapt differently. Some enjoy the work, some find America cold and somewhat uninviting. John Bul Dau, especially, seems very intelligent and is determined to make his life, and his family's life, better. His spirit, compassion and determination is truly inspirational.

Before moving to the US, they had never heard of the word 'shower' and they think using electricity will be hard for them because they've never used it before. Merely three years later, they're on their way to college degrees, they have decent income and one of them has even started a non-profit organisation and building a school in his hometown in Sudan.

With big names attached, such as Catherine Keener, Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman, this is a movie to watch. This movie is uplifting and shows the American dream. Actually, the country need not be the United States. For me, the movie teaches that, with hard work, anything can be done. Even if the struggle is hard, the journey is worth doing. These three people also never forget their families back in Sudan. They feel bad that they've had the opportunity they've had, but not the rest of their friends. They do what they can for their friends and family back home, even if it means depleting their own savings. Helping people may be hard work, but it's fulfilling, and completely worth it. As one of the Lost Boys puts it, 'If you can manage, it's a land of opportunity.'

Video

1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Shot on DV, the movie is only limited by the source. As such, the movie will look a bit compressed on bigger television sets. It looked fine on mine, but if you have a 40-inch set, the picture will probably not look so nice. The colours reproduced pretty nicely and the contrast is good enough. Most importantly, though, is that the story gets through, regardless of the transfer, and the cinematography is reproduced very well.

Audio

The only track is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Though the score does come through occasionally on the rear and back speakers, there's basically no point in having anything other than the centre speaker. All the interviews and sounds come clearly from the front, and they're clear and clean. There's no muffling or anything bad, there's just nothing terribly terrific about the track.
English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Extras

To start things off, you can listen to an audio commentary by director Christopher Quinn and 3 Lost Boys. The four men do a nice job adding to the documentary. The Lost Boys mostly add about what you see on screen. They talk about why they said certain things, or they recall what was going through their heads when you see certain things, like when John Bul Dau learns his family is still alive, and sending the money to Africa. The director also talks about the locations and he helps situation certain scenes within the shoot. The track is very entertaining and is a great addition/update to the movie. They group also end up talking about where they are now, though never completely directly. A very enjoyable chat.

Next is the Finding the Lost Boys (15:32) featurette. It starts with the director talking about how and why the director started to make the movie, and how it evolved. The three Lost Boys talk about how they became involved and their involvement in the project. They also talk about what they've done since the movie came out, which is really interesting. It's a very nice making of. The 'God Grew Tired of Us' theatrical trailer (2:28) is a pretty good trailer. It gives you a good look at the movie, and sets the tone very nicely.

After that is a section called Take Action with 'John Dau Sudan Foundation' (1:30), 'I Was Hungry - Sudanese School Project' (0:30) and 'Pittsburgh Global Alliance' (0:09), in which John Dau and Panther Bior talk about the organisations they founded and ask you to help their people.

To finish everything off, a bunch of Sony Previews are here. 'Facing the Giants' (2:12), 'The Second Chance' (2:06), 'Who Killed the Electric Car?' (2:14), 'Why We Fight' (1:53), 'The Fog of War' (2:08), 'Secrets of the Code' (1:26), 'Nora Roberts Movies' (2:02), 'Offside' (1:43), 'Are We Done Yet?' (2:31) and 'The Pursuit of Happyness' (2:24) have trailers.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B- Audio: B Extras: C+ Overall: B-

 


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