The sophomore feature film from Dominic Savage, The Escape, shows that the British director has a penchant for depicting conflictive relationships with decent levels of maturity. The director had an interesting debut in 2005 with Love+Hate and since then has been dedicated to TV movies and series.
This subtly aching new drama is set in suburban London and follows a thirty-something housewife and mother of two, Tara (Gemma Arterton), who is extremely unhappy in her marriage, and whose life becomes more and more draining and pointless. Her daily routine includes taking care of the kids, do the housecleaning, make dinner, and be available for her unmindful husband Mark (Dominic Cooper), who assures a good financial stability but cannot see the lamentable emotional state she got into.
“…sad to realize that this intelligent woman cries while forcing herself to please the sexual appetites of her selfish partner.”
It’s sad to realize that this intelligent woman cries while forcing herself to please the sexual appetites of her selfish partner. There are no signs of pleasure or joy in her expression and their relationship gradually becomes poisoned by bitterness and resentment. Suffocated, she ends up taking her anger out on the innocent kids, showing that her emotional fortitude reached a very low level.
She seems not to have close friends and the only person with whom she talks to, from time to time, is her nonchalant mother, who states she’s just going through a phase. Highly determined to do something more with her life, Tara flees from home and heads to Paris, where she has a romantic adventure with a local photographer, Phillipe (Jalil Lespert). The chemistry between the two is palpable, but is this the affair she needs?
Despite Arterton’s outstanding performance, the film weakens considerably in its last section. The drama stalls in terms of fluency after the main character’s self-imposed freedom. Hence, the solidly built oppression that comes from the household becomes the film’s emotional peak. This undeniable decrescendo of enthrallment tells us that The Escape is a fair drama that could have been better.
The Escape (2018) Directed by Dominic Savage. Written by Dominic Savage. Starring Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper, Jalil Lespert.
6 out of 10 stars