'Escape From Tomorrow'
(Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, et al / DVD / NR / 2014 / Gaiam)
Overview: The most provocative film from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, 'Escape From Tomorrow' should not exist, and yet it does. Like nothing you've ever seen, Randy Moore's directorial debut is a bold and ingenious trip into the happiest place on earth.
DVD Verdict: My goodness! Well, if you're reading this there's no doubt you've already heard the conditions under which this whole film was made. It's really quite remarkable even if the ultimate narrative doesn't entirely hang together.
This is a hallucinatory experimental film about dreams, nightmares and realities, the likes of which don't get made much anymore on the indie scene. Or if they do they very rarely cross over into the mainstream.
Reminiscent of the stark black and white insanity of 'Pi' and the trippy visuals of 'Fear and Loathing,' 'Escape From Tomorrow' is a must-see for fans of independent cinema and aspiring filmmakers.
You may balk at the content or you may just outright hate the film itself, but you can't deny the ambition and dedication and balls it took to bring this together.
I was expecting something much more shoddy than what I saw. For a film comprised from a patchwork filming schedule and a bonkers narrative, it's superbly coherent and well shot.
Indeed, due to the importance of lighting in a black and white film, the crew was sometimes forced to shoot certain shots in a six-minute window when the sun was directly in the right position. These shots were sometimes planned months in advance!
We start off in the banal reality we all know, then veer off into nightmare fantasy slowly being sucked into a bizarre hell before we ascend into dreamlike euphoria in the final minutes. If this film has any spiritual cousin it would be 'Jacob's Ladder.' Very similar ideas and narratives that question the nature of reality and fantasy.
It drags in a few places and is one of those head-scratching "what the hell was that all about" stories but in the end, this is why indie films are far more exciting, innovative and daring than anything Hollywood has produced in many a moon.
My advice, if you're an aspiring filmmaker or even working in the industry right now, see this film. It's an inspiring example of a guerrilla-style shoot and taking risks to see your "dreams come true."
Some people are bad-mouthing it for different reasons and that's fair enough. If you don't enjoy abstract storytelling or enigmatic narratives then this will most likely not be for you.
I'd like to see future budding filmmakers have the gall, ambition and imagination to take a gamble and make something as impressive as this. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Two (2) Audio Commentaries:
-Writer/Director Randy Moore and Cinematographer Lucas Lee Graham
-Actors Roy Abramsohn and Elena Schuber in Character
The Making of 'Escape From Tomorrow'
Theatrical Poster Gallery
'Escape From Tomorrow' Trailer