There are those days during which we want to say goodbye to our ordinary and normal life and want to escape to another one. One in which we would possibly be able to fully blossom and to forget the daily struggle with work and family.
That’s what The Escape, the new feature from director Dominic Savage (“True Love”, “Love + Hate”), is about. The film might seem as “one in a dozen movies about going through a mid-life crisis and leaving behind the everyday life” but it’s so much more than that.
Looking in the mirror in the morning, while thinking about who she became over the years, how she feels at the moment and which person she wants to be in the (near) future, Tara, Gemma Arterton (“Quantum Of Solace”, “Prince Of Persia”) clearly struggles with her own identity and is still searching for herself but keeps up a strong appearance when in front of her husband Mark, Dominic Cooper (“Stratton“, “Warcraft: The Beginning“) and their two young children.
On the outside she’s the determined housewife, mother and wife living in a London suburb of Kent but inside she’s shattered, insecure and lost. On both a personal level but also on the sexual one.
Keeping your emotions in is never a good idea because one day it will become too much and, sadly, that day comes for Tara when dropping her kids off at school.
Back home she confides in Mark that she’s very unhappy and that scene turns out to be one of the most emotional scenes. You still see the struggling woman who’s on a crazy, wildly emotional rollercoaster, but who has a sense of relief to be able to finally say what she wants.
However, her confession doesn’t have the desired effect and her husband, who’s clearly one of the reasons for her feeling miserable, takes her for granted again as the housekeeper, parent and lover without even thinking and asking about how she feels.
Despite the lack of response of Mark, Tara clearly escapes out of the narrow cage she got stuck in for a long period. She decides to take more time for herself, discovers a passion for arts and dreams of going to Paris to develop that passion even more.
But when both her closest friend and Mark convince her that it’s just a phase she’s going through, she starts believing them. Will she go back again to the life she’s been stuck in for the most miserable and unhappy period of her life or will she finally finds the strength to fight what she believe and to make her Paris dream coming through?
If we learned one thing from this movie then it’s the fact that talking about emotions and feelings is the best thing you can do to put your life back on track.
It might not have the instant outcome you hope for or the response from the people you were hoping for but at least it’s out there and you can start working on your way back up.
The lesson is brought to us by amazing acting from both Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper. We clearly see all the emotions Tara is going through: sadness, anger, doubt but also love and friendship.
In The Escape, there are a lot of scenes in which images speak louder than words and those are the best. The facial expressions from Arterton are magnificent when it comes to showing every emotion of the emotional spectrum.
Throughout almost the entire movie, you will have the feeling that Cooper’s character doesn’t care about his wife and that he’s only interested in himself and demands her to do what he wants.
However, near the end of the movie, it will turn out that Mark, who seems to be the rough though overworked business man, also has a soft and loving side. All because of Cooper’s acting. From being the bad husband to his wife to becoming a more caring one.
At this point it has become clear that The Escape is driven by emotions, feelings and passion. Also in this movie there are a lot of silent scenes and with that the cinematography from Laurie Rose is more important than ever.
Especially in the “I’m not happy” scene in which Arterton delivers that line almost whispering but with a lot of power and, as a cinematographer, you have to be able to capture both the sad side of it but also the more positive side of it because Tara’s confession brings some relief to her. Rose pulls that off beautifully.
There might a flaw or two in The Escape but these are so minor that they are pushed back to the background by the gripping and eye opening story because, even though it’s 2018 now, some women are still struggling to escape the set norm of housewife, mother and wife.
With Arterton and Cooper, Savage found a couple that can portray the whole range of emotions which lift this movie to a very mature one, one you should see!