Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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I wish everybody in the USA would watch this.
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare has the power to enlighten and frighten. It's a compelling call to action for a nation that's wasting its potential. It's arguments are based on seemingly irrefutable facts and figures, yet it's not quite a home run-more like a ground rule double.
Its thesis is like the plot of Prometheus. You see where it wants to go, but the path there is strewn with bumps and holes. Yes, our health care system is problematic-in fact, "problematic" is a massive understatement. And the film hammers that home with precision. However, it flubs the landing just a little by not offering a solution worthy of the problem. Eating right, exercising, stress relief-all good things. But can these practices change government policy on corn subsidization? Or a fast food company's pricing model? Probably not-at least not in any reasonable amount of time.
But Escape Fire is well-intentioned and features brilliant men and women speaking truth to power. Taken in context, it's rather convincing. Aren't convinced bacon and eggs for breakfast every day is dangerous? Escape Fire has a few people you ought to meet. Think meditation and acupuncture are hippy-dippy nonsense? Think again. Directors Susan Frömke and Matthew Heineman, along with the experts they call upon, back up their claims with solid facts, but the claims feel flimsy. I have a thousand questions I'd like to ask some of these individuals, and as my surrogate, Frömke, Heineman, and their filmmaking team let me down.
The film's other problem is its title. "Escape Fire" refers to the notion that the solution to an overwhelming problem might be right in front of your face. A crew of firefighters are trapped on the side of a mountain when its leader strikes a match and starts burning the ground around him. The men and women around him panic, and most of them ultimately parish, but the captain knew the flames would sail past him in search of more oxygen. It's a clever metaphor, but the way the film references it is overdone and silly.
The healthcare problem, at least as its described in Escape Fire, has many facets, and none is more successfully tackled in this documentary than military healthcare-particularly as it relates to a soldier's dependency on prescription drugs. We follow a sergeant in the Army who's being evacuated after taking a bullet in the Korengal Valley (made famous in the superb 2010 documentary Restrepo). He's on so many drugs for his legs, as well as PTSD (most of the men he fought with perished). At one point, we see him on the evac helicopter actually fall over he's so high on morphine. It's disturbing and sad, especially as we get to know him more. Unlike many of his fellow soldiers, he's able to motivate himself to kick the habit, and what get him to do so is acupuncture-a technique this self-described hick is incredibly skeptical of at first. The results win him over; When he has these little pins in his ear, he's damn near invincible. It's a moving comeback from a damaged hero, and it's easily this film's strongest thread.
Escape Fire is full of other honest and admirable individuals with compelling personal stories-like a woman who's had dozens of stints put in before the age of 40 and a doctor who's forced to float from practice to practice because she likes to educate and spend time with her patients. This personal touch, as well as the impressive scope of the picture, make Escape Fire recommendable. It's not, however, among the year's best documentaries; It's merely good. It's searching for an answer that might not be there, and the answers it ultimately poses are nothing but paper tigers.
Fantastic movie on American health and the future to come.
Excellent, not just a big idealistic view but actual examples of full scale successful implementation of the right way to do healthcare.
Great film on the health care system and how we can change it for the better.
Interesting, but not that much new, lots of obvious things, and the audience that sees it won't be the audience that needs to learn what it's teaching.
As one who reads a lot and watches a lot of documentaries, I'd already heard a lot of this information. But it never hurts to be refreshed on such an important issue. At the end of the day, the documentary reminds me how incredibly broken this country is.
The basic premise is that America's disease care system is no healthcare system at all. It's a system that (barely) treats illness, usually at great cost. We spent $2.7 trillion on healthcare in 2011. $300 billion was prescription drugs. If any other commodity rose at the rate of healthcare since 1945, we'd be paying like $144 for a gallon of milk...whatever the figure.
And that's what I took from the movie. We are supposed to be the greatest country on earth but we can't figure out how to be healthy. Health goes beyond paying insurance and rx companies gobs of money. It goes beyond treating only the symptoms. But that's how the American system is set up: pay for services rendered and by the patient. A lot of hands go empty if we actually help the perpetually ill and/or get them off meds.
The film also focuses on the military. The one interesting thing to come out of that is the use of acupuncturist too replace drugs. Some early studies show promise, but what's more macho than "chomping on narcotics" and complaining about your bag being so heavy it compresses your spine?
As per usual, it's at least good for a discussion. The sources seem to be legitimate and the points legitimate. Doesn't matter. You can't change America.
Its a bit heavy handed in its attempt to make you care about the issue via real life examples rather than simply giving you all the facts up front, but it never takes away from what its trying to get across...the disease management, medical industrial complex of a monster that is the "health care system" of this country is not only broken, but close to being in complete shambles and the only way for it to change is for EVERYONE to be completely informed about what is actually happening...it would have been better suited to delve into why the system is so broken rather than just pounding away at the fact that it is in such a state...there is so much of this pseudo'factual propaganda contrived by certain political and economic groups and networks for nothing more than essentially brainwashing the American people in the hopes of maintaining of power and wealth...it is a truly sickening notion...and the truth of the matter is that change can not be made until the root of the issue has been eradicated...burning the current 'infrastructure' and rebuilding a true health care and management system from its ashes may seem like an overly drastic step to take (and perhaps it really is too much to hope for), but until people really and truly understand that the only way major changes to come into affect is to take extreme actions nothing can or will happen
Overall, I can only hope that what someone takes away from this film (or maybe even this short review/rant, depending on how you interpret) is that things need to change and the only way for that to happen to is spread better understanding on the issue and take action, no matter how large or small
Scary to watch... but should be a MUST SEE!!
Well documented and I am glad not to be living in America and even gladder that I have not been inside a hospital for treatment for many many years