Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"No Escape" (2015)

This looked like it might be a fun thriller mixing culture shock with very real dangers that can present themselves to expats. It ended up being nothing of the sort.

Apparently the screen writer was inspired to write the story when his trip to Thailand was cancelled by the coup there. That might explain a lot. People who have experienced international tourism are not really in a position to comment on expat life. As if two weeks experience in a place is any real representation of a life there. As if a small taste of the initial stages of culture shock are any real comparison to planting roots in another culture.

In this story a family arrives to work in an unnamed Asian country mere hours before a coup takes place. The first red flag seems to be the way this family is being transplanted. They appear to have zero orientation or training. They haven’t shown any indication that they have prepared themselves in any way for this life transformation. We get a few little amusing moments of culture shock, but all of that is left quickly aside so that we can get down to the all-out war that this family is going to survive. (Does anyone seriously doubt that they are going to make it?) This is anxiety-porn and not much more.

I find myself wishing they had kept things going past the end of the movie. For most people the reality of being asylum seekers in a foreign country not much different culturally from the one they just escaped would be pretty traumatic. And it would have been a lot more believable than the cartoon coup this movie presents us with.

You could put together a compelling real story of a family of Americans facing the trauma of adapting culturally to a home in another country without the need for such extreme circumstances. Unfortunately this film is not that. Watch this if you want a mindless chase for survival story.

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