Hell's Half Acre (hells_half_acre) wrote,
Hell's Half Acre

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Movie Review: Inescapable (AKA: Tonight I Met Joshua Jackson's Mother)

So, usually on Friday nights I go over to my friend's house and eat her food and drink her wine... tonight, we were planning to do just that, when she suddenly emailed and informed me that there was a movie premiere of a Canadian film going down! Not only that, but the film would be followed by a Writer/Director Q&A session...and also Joshua Jackson.

My friend asked me if I wanted to go, and I thought "Well, I just had that dream a few days ago where me and Josh were buddies - so, yes, I should be supportive of my dream-friends!" (Can you tell I've been drinking? I've been drinking.)

So off we went...


The official long-synopsis of the film makes it sound a bit like Taken (you know, that film staring Liam Neeson that people like to parody?)...but it is SO MUCH BETTER. The IMDB page just has this synopsis: "Inescapable is a thriller about a father's desperate search for his daughter and the chaos of the Middle East he left behind." (This, of course, all takes place before the Arab Spring.)

Basically, the film follows a Syrian-Canadian father, Adib (Alexander Siddig), whose daughter travels to Damascus without telling him, trying to figure out who her father is and why he won't talk about his past...only you know, there's a good reason for him keeping secrets and she goes missing. Adib has to travel back to Syria in order to find her, along the way he meets a slightly dubious Canadian ambassador (Joshua Jackson) and a woman from his past (Marisa Tomei).

The film is written and directed by a Syrian-Canadian, Ruba Nadda - who is just LOVELY.

Because of the current "climate" in Syria, of course, the film was actually shot in Johannesburg, South Africa - but they did an AMAZING job making it look like Syria (says the person who has never been to Syria)...but seriously, if I hadn't have been told, I wouldn't have guessed. It was also shot for half of its original budget and over only 25 days, but again, you can't tell.

The actors are all wonderful. I've always really liked Alexander Siddig - ever since his DS9 days, when he was the only character that I enjoyed on that show. I didn't even recognize Marisa Tomei, she so inhabited her character...it wasn't actually until the Q&A that I was reminded that it had been her the whole time. And, of course, Joshua Jackson was excellent as always.. I always get a kick out of Canadian playing Canadians...they do it so well! haha!

What I loved about the film:

1. It had an Arab-hero...and Arab allies...instead of just having some white dude going over to the middle east and every single person with a slight tan is evil.

2. It wasn't done "hollywood" style - this isn't some movie where the ex-secret agent has to go back and kill 20-billion ninja-assassins with his superior ninja-assassin skills that have been dormant all these years... No, this is a dude who has to go back to his homeland after a whole 25 years away, and he knows some tricks about it, but he doesn't know all of them - and he makes just as many mistakes as he does good decisions - and nothing is easy, and when things do go south, he doesn't shrug it off, sew up his own bullet wound, and then make some witty quip...when things go south, he is hurt and horrified and destroyed.... and his relationships are messy, and everything is just as dirty and messy as real life.

3. It shows the rot and insidious horror of Syria without being heavy-handed or even making direct statements about the regime.

4. Wardrobe - Adib wears a crisp white shirt throughout the entire movie. It's beautiful... every time he gets dirty, every drop of blood that lands on that shirt, shows up like neon. Also, I happen to think Alexander Siddig is a very attractive man (albeit an attractive older man - because although he looks fantastic, he's too old for me), and that shirt looked very very nice on him.

5. Visually, it's a really well done film - she uses a lot of wide-shots, which I love in movies, because I always think tight-shots are for TV and wide-shots are for films...but that's just me.

The Q&A

It was actually a REALLY small crowd. We thought it would be packed, but there were only about 40 people there!

Joshua Jackson was really only there to introduce the film - he was actually in the middle of filming Fringe and had just popped over on his lunch break. The writer/director, Ruba, introduced him as her favourite actor to have ever worked with, and he said that last week they had premiered the film for 2,000 people and that compliment was actually easier to take in front of thousands of people rather than just the few. He then just said that he really hoped we enjoyed the film, and then the lights went down and the film started - and he slipped off to return to set. 

The director really was lovely. She spoke about how because of the small budget, it really became a collaborative effort with her actors to get the movie filmed - and she mentioned at least one scene where Joshua was the one that came up with the brilliant idea about how they could pull it off.

She spoke about her own experience with Syria (she lived there between the ages of 12 and 16)...and she spoke about how her father was the one who gave her the idea for the film, when he warned her not to go missing while traveling with the words "don't make me come there to find you!" She also spoke about how horrible both Syria and Iraq are (or were) under their regimes...and also a bit about how she's received death threats since the trailer to the movie went up.

She also talked about how nice Johannesburg was to film in, and how they had to basically cast (and train) every single Arab in South America to be extras in the film. :P

A lot of the audience had very nice things to say about the movie, and Ruba was very pleased.

Then the woman sitting behind me asked if Ruba might be the first female Canadian director to direct an action film...and no one could come up with any other Canadian female directors who have directed action movies, so we all thought "yes, I think she is..." and the woman thought that that was fantastic, and Ruba should be very proud of herself, and we should all be very proud and thankful that she made such a wonderful film...and then she ended by saying, "and thanks for hiring my boy!"

So, yeah, it was Joshua Jackson's mother. :)

We talked to her briefly as we were leaving the theater, mostly just talking about how great the movie was...as you do. She was, as you would expect, very nice. 

Anyway...super good news is that there was apparently a bidding war for US distribution! So, the film will be distributed in the US at some point in the future! I recommend it. (The one review of it on IMDB isn't favourable, but whatever... *I* liked it.)

Go see it!
Tags: movie review

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