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Sunday, January 30, 2011

INHALE (2010) - REVIEW

A lot of you have probably never heard of Baltasar Kormakur, the director of this movie. A quick look over his resume will reveal that he's actually quite an acclaimed filmmaker. No major awards recognition, but he's certainly no stranger to film festivals. If you know your foreign movies, then you've probably come across his name at some point. However, his influence has not reached past Europe. His only other movie that might have appealed to a wider public was "A Little Trip to Heaven", starring Forest Whitaker, Julia Stiles and Jeremy Renner. He hasn't managed to break through, yet, and, unfortunately, "Inhale" (also known as "Run for Her Life") is not going to aid his cause much. Find out more after the jump.

Paul Stanton (Dermot Mulroney) is a district attorney whose daughter, Chloe, desperately needs a lung transplant. He and his wife Diane (Diane Kruger) are advised by Chloe's doctor to seek out alternative solutions. She offers them a lead which will eventually direct them to the Mexican underground, where Paul attempts to buy his way onto the country's official donor list. Soon enough he'll become entangled in the country's corrupt system, uncover chilling truths and find himself facing some disturbing moral dilemmas.

To me the movie first sounded like a mix between "Man on Fire" and "Desperate Measures" (that movie with Andy Garcia and Michael Keaton). From the former comes the focus on corruption in Mexico and outlaw mayhem, and from the latter, the idea of a father going to extreme lengths to save the life of his child (coincidentally also regarding transplants). After seeing "Inhale" I can safely say it manages to avoid any embarassing similarities. In fact, it navigates around some of the mistakes of the aforementioned movies. It keeps it simple. No radical flourishes of visual style, no overly complicated narrative, and no over-the-top action. The story moves along nicely, at a constant pace, without straining credibility or signaling too many inconsistencies. Paul never becomes an action hero, and at no point do we feel like any wrongs are being repaired, which is actually quite realistic. It's just the story of a man descending into hell, thinking he can sacrifice his moral values so that his daughter can live. The ending will probably divide audiences, and is bound to spark some radical debates. The director show guts but also provides a decent, non-sensationalistic approach to the subject matter which makes it all easier to swallow.

In the end the movie carries a humanitarian message masked by the ordinary proceedings of a thriller. Sometimes it aims too high, other times it lacks ambition, but most of the time it proves to be a provocative, entertaining drama held together by a wonderful performance from Delrot Mulroney, who so rarely gets the chance to play the lead in a movie. It will probably fall into oblivion on the home video market and it's a shame, because, while not 100% impressive, it is still better than a lot of movies out there.




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