hells_half_acre: (The Boys in BC)
[personal profile] hells_half_acre
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!

Date: 2012-09-22 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] risenshine22.livejournal.com
OMG - you saw Inescapable??
That's another film on my wishlist I need to see - well, mainly because of Oded Fehr (tall, dark, handsome).
How was he??

Date: 2012-09-22 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
I definitely recommmend it! I don't know what kind of distribution it is getting in your part of the world - but if it's out there somewhere, you should go support it!

Oded Fehr was very good... I don't want to spoil the story by telling you any more, but he played his part very well. I also really liked Saad Siddiqui.


Date: 2012-09-22 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyn (from livejournal.com)
I was also at the 7pm screening of Inescapable .... and i too expected a bigger crowd. How often do we get the chance to see a film introduced by one of the stars of the film as well as the writer / director?

The cinematography really captured the atmosphere of Damascus and set a beautiful tone for the film. Ruba's efforts to create an authentic Syrian setting were certainly evident on the screen. It was beautifully lit and edited.

Alexander Siddig was just brilliant in this movie. Ruba said in the Q&A session that she wanted to focus more on the male characters in this movie. Joshua Jackson (whom i adore), Oded Fehr and Saad Siddiqui offered great supporting performances.

I really loved Inescapable. I saw it twice on its opening day and i will see it again. I hope the Canadian and US public go out in their droves to see and support this movie. Nada is an outstanding writer / director and her movies deserve all the attention and support / backing they can get.

The Q&A session at the end of the film was really very interesting and showed just how talented Ruba is. It was a nice added bonus that Joshua Jacksons mother was in the audience.

Re: Inescapable

Date: 2012-09-22 07:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Cool! I was wondering if anyone who was there would end up reading my little (slightly tipsy) review.

I agree with everything you say above, of course. I really thought the film was shot beautifully, and as you say, all the actors were excellent. I'm glad you are supporting the movie so much! I really hope that it gets a good distribution - I really think other people would enjoy this film as much as I did.

Q&A sessions are always so interesting, and Ruba was definitely very intriguing to talk to, given how talented, ambitious, and gracious she is. :)

Re: Inescapable

Date: 2012-09-25 06:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaybee751.livejournal.com
runpaceyrun - First Weekend Club host a lot of events in Vancouver with the stars, writers, directors, producers etc in attendance. It's free to sign up for their newsletter, but sometimes you just find out a few hours before the show, as was the case with Inescapable. firstweekendclub.ca/join.html I just found out about them last year, and have enjoyed every event I've managed to attend.

Date: 2012-09-22 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metallidean-grl.livejournal.com
I will definitely want to see this movie. Sounds very intriguing. Plus, I love Alexander Siddig, and not because of DS9, but because of his role in Kingdom of Heaven, and then he had another role somewhere (can't remember where) that I really liked him in as well. And yes, he is dark and handsome, and unlike you, probably not too old for me. Also love Oded Fehr, he has been fun to watch with his guest appearances on Covert Affairs, and then I also love Joshua Jackson.

What a treat though to be able to watch a screening and have a Q&A with the director and others afterwards. I certainly hope it gets US distribution. Would love to see it.

Date: 2012-09-22 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
Yay! Another Alexander Siddig fan. There was another tall, dark, and handsome guy in the movie that was more my age (actually, a little younger) named Saad Siddiqui. All the actors were very good, of course.

I really hope it gets a good US distribution too, and a good response...and most of all that you are able to see it!

Date: 2012-09-22 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metallidean-grl.livejournal.com
I hope someday I will get to see it as well. Many times when a small movie like that comes to the States it only goes to the really big markets, and, unfortunately, Portland is not considered one of those really big markets. But it could come in as an "Art" movie, and with that, we do have some movie houses around like that. So, I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

And yea, love Alexander Siddig. I really like the tall, dark, handsome type, but in RL always seem to go more for the blondes. Don't think I've heard of or seen Saad Siddiqui anywhere. Will have to keep an eye out for him.

Date: 2012-09-22 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hells-half-acre.livejournal.com
I think this is the first time I've seen Saad Siddiqui. He had a smaller part, but was damn handsome while doing it. ;)

I'd think Portland would have a great market for "foreign" or limited-release films... but then, I guess they go for "big markets" rather than "enthusiastic markets" :P

Hopefully it comes into one of the independent movie houses. Unfortunately, I don't know what the timing of the US release it going to be - I only know that they've secured distribution there.


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