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The Escape (Flugten)

February 16, 2013

Cinequest 2010

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THE ESCAPE is easily going to be one of the best films at Cinequest.  Just as in HURT LOCKER, we have another female director dealing with the troubles in the Middle East, and doing a masterful job.  This film revolves around the Afghan occupation by European countries and the US.  It is filled with suspense and a hundred twists and turns.  In fact, I am not clear to which escape the title is referring:  this film had easily 25 different escapes, at least, both literal and metaphorical.

It begins when Rikke, a Danish journalist in Afghanistan, is kidnapped by the Taliban.  They want the Danish troops (and others) out of their country, and if it doesn’t happen they threaten to kill Rikke.  But their deadline runs out and they realize that Rikke is “just another journalist” to the media and Europe, so they devise a new plan:  ten days, ten fingers.  Be warned, there are some violent scenes in this film.

Without revealing too many details, I will just say that she is given help to escape but must tell a lie to keep her savior safe.  She gets back to Denmark and writes a book about her experience, but must weave the lie into her story.  This all comes back to haunt her when her friend shows up in Denmark asking for help in return.

The movie is fast paced and very suspenseful, and also very complex and complicated.  I have three pages of notes that I took while viewing it (many just stating “Escape AGAIN??”).  Every one of these characters has their own escapes they must make, and Rikke alone must escape not only the Taliban but her own lies, the truth, the media spin on the whole event, the prejudice against her in her career due to being a beautiful woman in a man’s world, and her own personal demons.

I absolutely recommend this film.  Iben Hjejle is beautiful and a wonderful actress who should be in more films available in the US.  The supporting cast was also fantastic, especially Lars Mikkelsen who gives a little comic relief in his expressions when his mistress shows up on his doorstep.  Kathrine Windfeld did an outstanding job in directing this film, and the film should definitely be on your must-see lists.

Sadly only available in non-USA format DVD. Do not purchase unless you live in Denmark.

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