Escape and Evasion (MA) - 92 minutes
Another example of an overacted Australian film, in this case it deals with post-traumatic stress disorder with a clenched fist.
It becomes thoroughly in-your-face nasty without subtlety.
The focus is a special forces captain Seth (Josh McConville) who returns home from a mission in Myanmar, Burma a shell of a man – angry, disorientated and broken.
The real reason is only gradually eked out. He has lost members of his four-strong team, who were sent on a special mission (not to overlooked the fact that he has witnessed innocent women and children being slaughtered).
Among them is the twin brother (Hugh Sheridan) of a journalist, Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen), who is desperate to find out the truth about what happened over there.
Seth is in no shape to tell her and his orders are to keep what occurred to himself. That is made clear by his commanding officer Major Michelle Pennyshaw (Rena Owen).
Divorced, Seth now has trouble holding it together at the best of times, including when he is with his beloved young daughter, Lizzy (Jessie Robertson).
During the course of the film, Seth will be forced to confront the ghosts of his past.
We also hear how close Rebecca and her brother were, after being mistreated by their father.
In trying to relay the message about the trauma faced by 20 per cent of soldiers who serve under combat conditions, half of whom don’t receive the treatment they need, writer and director Storm Ashwood has played a heavy hand.
His heart may have been in the right place, but his execution revealed a disappointing bull at a gate approach.
While McConville is strong in the lead, the movie overplays the stereotypes and I didn’t buy much of the acting.
In fact, in many instances I felt it was put on for effect and the movie suffers as a result.
Further, the details of the mission – when they eventually became clear – didn’t ring true.
Nor did the film need to be as blatant when it came to displaying violence. Sometimes the very best movies can be suggestive and drive home the point even more effectively.
Escape and Evasion did not deserve a cinematic release. It should have gone straight to streaming.
Rated MA, it scores a 4 out of 10.