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A Spare Survival Adventure From Norway: Not Much Plot, But Well Executed
on April 26, 2013
I wasn't really sure what to anticipate from the Norwegian film "Escape." The marketing artwork, packaging and description make it seem like this might be a cheesy kid's adventure film. So I strapped in and hoped for the best. And as is often the case with relatively low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. There isn't a whole lot of plot in this spare 80 minute film, but the action sequences were well executed and the movie held my interest throughout. The title really explains the entire film premise. It's about an escape with not much back story or explanation either before or after the event. By keeping things simple and straightforward, however, the movie succeeds in telling a concise little story. It may not be a great movie, but it is entertaining. The DVD/Blu-ray has the option of an English dubbed soundtrack, but I watched the film with subtitles. I can't, therefore, comment on the quality of the dub which is oftentimes distracting and annoying to my personal taste.
The movie is set ten years after the Black Death has decimated the population. A lone family traveling the desolate countryside is attacked by a gang of outlaws. After the bloody encounter, the teenaged daughter is taken back to the savage's camp and kept as a prisoner. She forms a tentative bond with another young girl, but her fate seems all but sealed unless she can take matters into her own hands. What must she do? She must escape, you guessed it. Never mind where she's going, she has to assert independence, courage, and ingenuity if she plans to survive this ordeal. Most of the movie has our hero on the run, and her pursuers following closely. That's about it!
The look of "Escape" is quite impressive. The scenery is spectacular and the action sequences are well done. For a low-budget endeavor, the filmmaking is quite accomplished. Young actress Isabel Christine Andreasen is believable and appealing, but it is Ingrid Bolsø Berdal who gets the film's showiest role as villainous Dagmar. I would love to have seen a movie about her character, she seems like a fascinating subject! In the end, you're not particularly connected to the fate of any of the characters but that didn't bother me. Because the movie had such a limited scope and modest ambitions, it worked just fine. I'm not particularly raving, but I enjoyed myself. Overall, about 3 1/2 stars. I'll round up for Berdal's work as Dagmar. KGHarris, 4/13.