There are a number of people whose work I admire involved with “Inescapable.” So allow me to say some nice things about them before I talk about what is so wrong with this movie.
The film is written and directed by Ruba Nadda, a Canadian director of Middle Eastern extraction. Nadda made one of the most compellingly subtle (and little seen) romance dramas of 2009 in “Cairo Time,” a deliciously restrained tale of longing and temptation that starred the always compelling Patricia Clarkson.
That film also starred Alexander Siddig, the star of “Inescapable,” an intriguing actor whose work in “Cairo Time” (and in “Syriana” and other films) has shown a laser-like focus, but also a soulfulness that you don’t often see in any movie actor. Either you have it or you don’t – and Siddig has it.
So it’s a shame that both Siddig and Nadda have gone so wrong with “Inescapable,” in which Siddig plays a former Syrian secret police officer, returning to his homeland for the first time in decades. This is one of those movies that wants you to think it’s more complex than it is, when it is actually too simple-minded for its own good.
Siddig plays Abid Abdel Kareem, now a computer operations manager for a bank in Toronto. He’s a successful businessman, married with daughters in college or approaching college age. Then he gets the phone call every parent dreads: His daughter, who had been traveling in Israel, popped into Syria without telling him – and now has disappeared.
This review continues on my website.