Escape from Tomorrow
Director: Randy Moore
Writer: Randy Moore
Cast: Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Jack Dalton, Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
Jim (Roy Abramsohn) is at Disneyland with his wife Emily (Elena Schuber) and their two kids Sara (Katelynn Rodriguez) and Elliot (Jack Dalton) and he is pretty much bored out of his mind. He only really has fun when he watches two French girls (Danielle Safady, Annet Mahendru) enjoy the park. That quickly turns into an obsession and he finds himself following the two around. That only leads him deeper and deeper into the park, and soon he finds himself looking behind the happy façade into the dark heart of Disney.
Escape from Tomorrow was clandestinely shot on site in Disneyland, without Disney’s permission or knowledge, and that is pretty much already the best thing about it, since the film veers off into complete over the top territory after a strong beginning.
When the film started I thought it would turn out to be a movie about a man slowly going insane inside Disneyland and the nightmares and paranoia that environment fuels in him. But instead of playing this (or actually any one concept) straight and developing it firmly, Moore starts to heap on idea after idea, culminating into a scene at the Epcot Center that I really didn’t know what to do with and that seemed removed from the rest of the film entirely.
I also didn’t like the way the film treats the women. Emily’s portrayal is not very positive at all, despite the fact that her suspicions about Jim and her qualms with his general behavior are entirely justified. Then there is the random witch (or something) who throws herself at Jim and it only seems to happen that the movie can pan over her body over and over again (generally there was so much male gazing in this film, it got really tiring). But most grievously was Jim’s lusting after the two teenagers, completely sexualizing them, making not only the viewer complicit in watching those two girls – who mostly show very childlike behavior to boot – but in the end even implicates the girls in their own objectification. I hated it.
Apart from that the camera work was fantastic, though, especially considering the circumstances under which the movie was shot (also considering said circumstances the couple of really bad green screen instances shall be forgiven). It often was better than some high budget studio productions.
There were quite a few things that I enjoyed about the film – especially when it came to the “reinterpretation” of Disney rides – but in the end its aspirations where way higher than its actual achievements.