Inescapable Ruba Nadda

Inescapable Ruba Nadda
Though more or less universally received, Ruba Nadda's 2009 TIFF "Best Canadian Feature Film," Cairo Time, was occasionally criticized for its slow pacing. With her latest film, Inescapable, Ruba goes in the complete opposite direction and presents what she calls "a more masculine experience." Considering the vast implications of its politically charged storyline, the film runs at just 90 minutes and hops from scene to scene almost as fast as some Hollywood thrillers.

The lead character, Adib (Alexander Siddig), is a seemingly shallow Canadian businessman at first sight. He has a bookish Anglo-Canadian wife (Bonnie Lee Bouman), a box of characterless architecture (his Bay Street apartment) and two eccentric/artsy daughters. In short, he puts on an act about as lame as any police officer on a Schwinn.

But unlike your everyday copper, Adib is only pretending to be square. He is in fact an ex-Syrian operative, who two decades ago, left behind a smoking hot Arab fiancée (Marisa Tomei is of Syrian descent?), as well as his hometown of Damascus, to flee to Canada. Apparently, he had to escape (or risk execution) because an old partner, General Sayid (Oded Fehr), framed him as a traitorous spy, when it was in fact Sayid who was the rat.

All this fascinating backstory is brought to light when Adib's one daughter, Muna, takes a slight detour on her European vacation to visit her father's birthplace. Needless to say, that excursion doesn't bode well for her and forces Adib to reunite with the old gang, friend and foe, to rescue his daughter from the grips of Arab crooks in shiny purple suits.

And we mustn't forget, good ol' Josh Jackson plays the part of a seemingly naive, slightly sleazebag-ish Canadian official living at the Embassy in Syria.

Ruba's film is pretty interesting; it keeps your attention, teaches you that Syria is in fact still in the grips of multiple opposing forces and, most importantly, suggests that Marisa Tomei will continue to look fine as hell well into our current decade. The only hiccup, at this stage in the game, before potential re-cuts can be made, is that there are some jarring edits. Meaning the pacing is slightly askew.

Perhaps that boils down to director Nadda trying on her father's jockstrap for size (and realizing the fit is awkward) or listening to what critics have to say. Either way, we as an audience should be more interested in the fact that the only dull moments of this film occur in an office building on Bay Street. (Alliance)