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18th of July 2018


The Escape: Gemma Arterton is revelation in an excoriating look at modern-day parenting


The Escape open in select New Zealand cinemas on July 5.

The Escape (M)101mins  ★★★★½

British writer-director Dominic Savage's relationship drama might just be the "feel-bad": movie of 2018.

However, don't be put off by that label, for this is a powerful, thought-provoking, emotional-wallop of a tale that will stay with you for days.

At its heart, this is the story of Tara Ashworth (a simply stunning Gemma Arterton). A mother of two young children, she's lost her own identity as the daily routine has ground her down.

​Longing for adult conversation, Tara resents husband Mark (Dominic Cooper), especially when the children's faces light up after he returns from a day at work.  Worse still, are his marital "demands" which she has become increasingly repulsed by.

One day, she finally breaks.

"I'm not happy," she admits, to Mark's total shock. Declaring that she'd like to do an art course, he attempts to support her, but it isn't longer before the logistics become too difficult and she begins to imagine a more permanent solution.

Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper star in The Escape.

Gemma Arterton and Dominic Cooper star in The Escape.

READ MORE:* The Escape: Gemma Arterton's 'intense experience' nearly ends in disaster* Gemma Arterton shares 'traumatic' experience of being body-shamed on set* Bewitched by beauty: Gemma Arterton as Gemma Bovery​* Actress fat-shamed by male co-star at 15* Bond girl slams 'piece of ass' industry

Best-known for his TV work on UK portmanteau dramas like The Secrets and True Love, Savage here creates an intensely emotional two-hander that is both an excoriating look at modern-day parenting and partnerships and the lies people tell one another.

Apparently consisting mostly of improvised scenes, Savage is fortunate to have secured two 30-something British actors at the top of their game.

Arterton in particular is a revelation, delivering a finely nuanced, yet powerhouse performance that deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.

And aiding the action greatly are Savage's use of extreme close-ups and hand-held camerawork and Alexandra Harwood and Anthony John's haunting, heartbreaking score.

Challenging, emotion-inducing cinema at its best.  

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