Starring Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei. Written and directed by Ruba Nadda. PG. 90 min. Opens Sept. 14.
As a director, Ruba Nadda has displayed a gentle touch, which is a nice way of saying that she’s all wrong for a movie that trades in hard turns and body blows. That said, she did write the script for Inescapable herself. Nadda’s follow-up to Cairo Time, her TIFF ’09 Best Canadian Feature winner, Inescapable aspires to be the Canadian version of Taken—the tale of a dad with a shady past who takes his special set of skills to a foreign country to save his kidnapped daughter from bad dudes. The dad is ex-resistance fighter Adib (Alexander Siddig), the country is Syria, his skills are limited, and the movie is, unfortunately, awful.
Things are off pretty much from the moment that Adib arrives in his former homeland and finds his diplomatically connected ex-lover, Fatima (played by Marisa Tomei—an optimistic piece of casting that does not pan out). Fatima’s immaculate outfits are the most interesting thing about her, and she spends most of the time looking worried while Adib runs afoul of government thugs and secret police henchmen—lots of fistfights and staredowns ensue, but there’s no juice in any of them. And any interest Inescapable might have held as a film about a country’s complicated and shifting political landscape is diminished by its myriad failings as a thriller. The inescapable fact is that there’s a certain amount of craft that has
to go into movies like this for them to work, and this one just doesn’t have it.