Err.. no. Oops. Sorry, wrong 'Inescapable'. I did not watch the horridly atrocious girl-on-girl flick by writer/director Helen Lesnick from 2003. Rather I watched the excellent 2012 movie from Ruba Nadda starring an excellent Alexander Siddig.
As is the case with an unfortunate number of movies the last couple of years, most of the audience reviews you will find online for 'Inescapable' focus on how this movie portrays the country it was (supposedly) shot in and how the author of that review doesn't agree with the (political) view of said country that is given in the movie. First off, that is unnecessary. Second, did anyone ask for that? Third, this is a movie. So what?!.
'Professional' reviewers are getting on my nerves more and more as well these days. Who cares -in relation to this work of fiction- if Syria is in the news right now? Who cares if the shooting locations in South Africa and Lebanon do not really look like Syria? And lastly: any 'professional' review writer who compares this story to 'Taken' has disqualified him/herself from being taken seriously by me.
Back to the production at hand. This is a movie that is very different from 'Taken' and the likes. The main character is Adib (Siddig), a successful Syrian immigrant in Canada who learns that one of his daughters, on a road trip in Europe, has vanished on a secret visit to her father's birth country. Adib has very good reasons to never go back there, but is forced now his daughter has gone missing. We follow him as he pursues different avenues to get his daughter back.
Siddig plays a layered, very human character. He is -thankfully- nowhere near the superhuman ex-CIA combat soldier portrayed by Liam Neeson in 'Taken'. He brings the story to life here. The pace is nice. No unnecessary shots of travel or family drama. Even though the movie was obviously not shot in the warzone that is Syria these days, the movie does a good job of portraying what you'd expect the situation to be in this fictional story.
See, I didn't say it portrays Syria accurately. God knows I don't have any clue of how it looks there and I have no desire whatsoever to find out or to read about it in movie review. So what if the Syrians speak English in this movie. I'm always glad when I don't have to read subtitles.
I'm not going to spoil the story here. I'm just going to say it has several layers and some twists and turns that keep it interesting. Not so many that you wonder why the hell you ever chose to watch this movie, but enough to keep you awake. It's produced well and has nice visuals. Please ignore negative reviews for this one. You won't regret it.
Pros: Great acting, well-developed story.
Verdict: Go see!
While the notion may be the same as other political missing persons movies as "The Constant Gardner", 1982 "Missing" starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, perhaps the 1956 version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" starring James Stewart and Doris Day among other movies, the situations are different. Starring Alexander Siddig as a 20 year Canadian citizen Adib having to return to the country where he originally escape from which is Syria, for the purpose of first, finding his daughter, and then second, to bring her back to Canada. We don't know too much about Adib as much until he returns back to the country where he originally abandoned or had escaped from, viewers get to witness some of his past about what he used to do and the sacrifices he had to make upon leaving a ruler who's also known to be a dictator by the name of Bashar al-Assad as his picture is plastered onto walls. For by judging this movie as a whole it almost seems that the 'missing persons' scenario almost serves as a backdrop to the political unrest that exists in Syria since I didn't know Syria had the 'secret police' functioning in their country in the first place. Marissa Tomei also stars as Fatima an Oscar winning actress I barely could recognize, and Joshua Jackson also stars as Paul who works for the embassy. Written and directed by Ruba Nadda using actor Alexander Siddig for a second feature after "Cairo Time" is somewhat an enlightening type of movie about what used to happened over in Syria which may be worst right now in comparison to what happened back then.
3 out of 4 stars