It has its flaws, but overall this is a very important production
Very quietly, but intrinsically, The Escape is focused on delivering its individual feminist message, highlighting issues around mental health, domestic abuse and the misunderstanding of unhappiness.
Revolving around Tara (Gemma Arterton) and Mark’s (Dominic Cooper) relationship, The Escape looks to analyse the loss of love, and provide insight into the lengths that the process can go to. It is often a particularly one sided story, and even though this does hinder the film, it doesn’t stop it from becoming a worthwhile study of love.
The leading positive coming from The Escape is Gemma Arterton’s immaculate central performance as Tara. Trapped in a life where she cannot stretch out and live her own time, Tara’s exasperations become incredibly clear, and Arterton gives a very real impression of that. Allowed to build slowly and methodically by writer/director Dominic Savage, a feeling of entrapment is vital to The Escape’s message becoming as vivid as possible.
Aiding Arterton is a volatile Dominic Cooper, portraying confusion, misunderstanding and violence very emotionally. His character is perhaps not as fully formed as it could have been, but with focus almost solely resting on Arterton this isn’t necessarily a surprising notion. Yet this unequal balance does offer up The Escape’s greatest flaw.
The relationship, the way the relationship is portrayed and the final results of The Escape’s plot line, allude to Mark being a ‘bad’ man. A fool with no understanding of what he is doing to damage his partnership with Tara. However, Mark, though making bad decisions and carrying out inexcusable acts, is the wrong man, not necessarily a ‘bad’ man. The message is mixed and certainly draws from The Escape’s final impact. Even a little more detail into Mark’s out of the house persona will have explained a little more on which side of the spectrum he lies.
It is a very emotional and relatable story, but becomes one that often feels biased rather than completely natural. It certainly distracts from the initial message, but not enough to remove it. Arterton and Cooper are very powerful throughout, particularly in their scenes together, and the direction goes a long way to making The Escape feel real. It has its flaws, but overall this is a very important production.
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