The Escape 1.0 stars

Escape movie poster

Much of the viewer’s enjoyment of writer-director Dominic Savage’s tale of a desperate English housewife will depend on his or her sympathy for its outwardly comfortable, inwardly unsatisfied protagonist Tara (Gemma Arterton, her face a china-doll mask of misery). And much of that sympathy will depend on the degree of wisdom he or she finds in the observation, made by another character, that “it’s tough for a woman. For a man too…but for a woman, being free and being married — contradiction. Protection is lovely, but too much security is also very boring.” If that sounds profound and sensitive, then Tara is iconic, her actions practically beyond judgment, like the magnificent, mysterious creature in Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.” (The creaky ‘70s reference is intentional; the drama here feels like a Boomer’s wounded cry for self-fulfillment in the face of the workaday business of living.) If it sounds impoverished and trite, then the story plays out like this: baby becomes somebody’s baby, has babies, acts like baby. The colors are rich and the direction is intelligent — especially in the way Tara’s lunky hubby is always embracing her, touching her body even as he tries to touch her heart, consoling himself even as he consoles her, and so undermining his own best efforts. But the overall effect is frustration leading to dissatisfaction — at least if you’re in the latter camp. 2017.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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