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Review: 'Escape From Tomorrow'

October 10, 2013 3:20 p.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews the indie film "Escape From Tomorrow."

Related Story: Review: 'Escape From Tomorrow'

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: Filmmaker Randy Moore shot his film “Escape From Tomorrow” at the happiest place on earth but without permission from Disney World. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this review the the breakout hit from Sundance that opens this weekend at the Digital Gym Cinema.

“Escape From Tomorrow” opens with family man Jim getting fired over the phone while he’s on the last day of his vacation at Disney World. He chooses not to tell his wife and kids, and instead tries to make the best of a bad situation. But his anxiety is only intensified by the forced happiness of the famous theme park. The film’s tone is laid out in the trailer.

TRAILER: People come here because they want to feel safe… bad things happen everywhere… especially here.

For Jim, the smiling faces on the rides turn to fanged snarls and a creepy sense of foreboding hangs over the park. Filmmaker Randy Moore delivers the film in black and white to distance us from the sensory overload of the park and to endow it with a David Lynchian sense of horror.

CLIP Honey where did you go? Sarah it’s not funny.

Moore may be disappointed that Disney has not taken any legal action but the Mouse doesn’t seem willing to give him any free press. Plus the film is not really critical of Disney. It’s not agitprop. It’s more a personal exploration of the discrepancy between reality and the fantasy world Disney represents. What’s nightmarish about the park could all be in Jim’s feverish brain, and the ending serves up a perverse take on living happily ever after.

“Escape From Tomorrow” is a fascinating and refreshingly original film.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.