Inescapable: Film Review

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Syria has been in the global daily headlines for years now, with the reigning Assad regime waging a war against its own citizens that has left tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) dead and displaced. Because the current headlines are so real and horrifying, the story of Inescapable feels like the cheapest form of escapism.

The movie begins in Toronto where a successful businessman named Adib hailing from Syria has raised two fine daughters. One of them goes missing after a trip abroad and is being held somewhere inside Syria. By whom and for what reason is never fully explained – are we to assume that no single women can pass safely through the Middle East? Inescapable says “Stay away, ladies!”

But one lady who is there is Fatima (Marisa Tomei) who used to be involved with Adib back in his youth. She’s mysterious and well-connected, which, in movie language, means that she will be integral to saving the girl.

The story then gets very convoluted – we meet all sorts of bizarre international types, including foreign hoods, Israeli spies, and a state minister with a pronounced fondness of young men and boys. Adib gets his chance to tell all of them off, or beat them up, or both. It’s kind of silly when you think of all the real Syrians that are dying for their basic human rights.

The movie, I am told, was shot in South Africa, which may explain why it feels decidedly disjointed. The writing in clumsy, but the acting is quite good, much better than the words that are given to its cast. Sadly, the film fails to do what it set out to do: prove that individual Syrians are capable of being more than pawns to be crushed by power-grabbing oppressors.