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SIFF 2009, Day 14

June 4, 2009

The Escape (2009) Dir. Katherine Windfeld

From Blogger
The Escape refers to Danish journalist Rikke Lyngvig's (Iben Hjijle) escape from a group of terrorists in Afghanistan who planned to kill her is Denmark did not withdraw their troops. Her escape was made possible due to the help of her Afgan guard, Nazir (Faegh Zamani), who felt sympathy for her when he realized that she would be killed in a few days time, but he told her that she can never reveal that she did not escape on her own, because if anyone were to suspect that she escaped with his help, we would be killed. 

Once free, Rikke returns to Denmark a hero, resulting in interviews and even writing a book about her experiences. She keeps her word and never reveals that Nazir made her escape possible.  However, Nazir flees Afghanistan seeking asylum and contacts Rikke for help. But if she helps Nazir her career is at risk, since she will have to admit that she lied numerous times to the press and even in her own book about having escaped her captors unaided. 

The Escape
succeeds in being a captivating film with some excellent performances.  Iben Hjejle is wonderful as the very career minded journalist, for whom being taken hostage and surviving was little more than an opportunity to launch her career.  And Lars Mikkelsen, like his brother Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale), seems to have a fascinating sort of charisma that lends complexity to his characters.  The Escape was a high tension drama that has a bit to say about the politics of the Danish involvement in Afganistan and the role the media can play in politics.  A pretty impressive first feature, from director Katherine Windfeld. 


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