Watching this Syrian-set abduction thriller, other adjectives come to mind: insufferable, indefensible, maybe even indigestible. But actually, Inescapable gets it 100 percent right: If your story involves a gruffly impatient ex–intelligence officer (Alexander Siddig), his sweet daughter gone missing and a particular set of skills in the fist-to-face department, the long shadow of the gloriously dumb Taken can’t be escaped. The movie’s director, Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time), a specialist with intimate exchanges, isn’t quite up to the task of mounting a chase movie; her leading man, meanwhile, strains with the action heroics.
But who’s that sultry Arab with the hurt expression, waiting at the Syrian border to serve as for our hero’s girl Friday (and hopefully work out their unresolved issues)? None other than Marisa Tomei—and here’s the point at which mere dissatisfaction boils over into unintentional giggles. Tomei is one of today’s great naturals; ever since her surprising My Cousin Vinny Oscar win, she’s loaded her career with excellent supporting roles (The Wrestler, In the Bedroom, Slums of Beverly Hills, etc.) that show off comic flair, vulnerability and quickness. At this point, she doesn’t need to pull a Streep and flaunt a studied accent. Waiting for Inescapable to finally reach its unearned, sentimental conclusion is a tiresome experience, but seeing Tomei submit to its badness is several measures worse.
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