Criticism | Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen star in ‘Escape,’ one of the year’s best thrillers

When you thought that stories of suspense and horror could no longer bring more originality to an audience hungry for novelty, “Escape” appears. The feature film has as its basic premise (and seen in the incredible miniseries “ The Act ”) Münchhausen syndrome, a fictitious disorder in which individuals claim or cause themselves or cause illness or psychological trauma for get them attention or sympathy – create symptoms, drugs and toxin inducing drugs to gain credibility with healthcare professionals. This “thesis”, so to speak, was notorious when it dealt with the story of Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman who led her daughter, Gypsy Rose, to believe that she had a wide variety of illnesses depending solely on the mother’s care – ending in a tragic murder, the result of a very elaborate revenge.

The real story has been transported to a bit more devilish and tense reach this year with the aforementioned feature film, directed by none other than acclaimed director Aneesh Chaganty. The name may not sound familiar at first glance, but if you’ve watched the thriller ‘Seeking …’ you know Chaganty has a skillful hand at crafting engaging stories out of clichéd panoramas, so to speak – why, he even brought it back to the grandeur of the mock documentaries and images found with the work starring John Cho. In his second cinematic foray, he returns with unmatched force, delivering only what we can understand as one of the best productions of the year and bringing Sarah Paulson into one of the most incredible performances of his career after ‘ “ American Crime Story ”.

Paulson brings Diane Sherman to life, a traumatized mother who gives birth to a premature daughter named Chloe (Kiera Allen). Despite the unfavorable situation, Chloe grows up to be a smart girl – now eighteen and about to go to college. Well versed in technology and robotics, she is passionate about knowledge, but suffers from several problems: cardiac arrhythmia, asthma, hemochromatosis (excess iron in the blood), diabetes and paralysis – an adverse scenario, of course; Either way, mother and daughter develop an unbreakable bond of empathy, friendship and love, which turns the worst into a bearable situation within its limits. However, things change when Chloe finds a box of pills with Diane’s name on it in a shopping bag – pills she’s taking.

The trailer for the film features a few key plot points – which would be unacceptable in any other iteration. However, Chaganty, working with his longtime partner Sev Ohanian (with whom he signs the screenplay), appears to have done it on purpose, treading cautiously while building twists into a predictable narrative, so to speak. Diane is an overprotective mother who keeps her daughter trapped in a barless cage, keeping her eyes on every move she makes and even giving her lessons at home. Chloe has no friends, no contact with the outside world (not even the letters she can take in her hands, since her mother is always there at the door to take care of everything). As might be expected, everything spirals out of control when a series of amazing events undermines the trust between the two women and puts them in a fight for their survival.

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Paulson’s impeccable performance comes as no surprise: she captured our hearts with her multiple interpretations in the anthology “ American Horror Story, ” as well as appearing in productions such as “ Ratched, ” “ 12 Years of Slavery ” and “ Eight Women and a Secret ”, still showing an applauding versatility and commitment to their roles that have placed her at an honorable level. In ‘Escape,’ the actress plays one of the only villains in her career, plunging into an arc of redemption and fall that almost all the time enters explosive conflict – which is why we turn to her. .

However, it’s Allen who stands out as the other protagonist. The rookie had only appeared in a short film titled ‘Ethan & Skye’ in 2014, making his debut this year. For a leading role in a film of considerable caliber, the young actress delivers far more than expected and revel in passionate complexity, making good use of all layers of a personality who no longer knows what is real and what is real. is not. Chloe seems to feel incompetent for not realizing that her mother’s affection was, in fact, a mask for all the mistakes she had made in the past; Diane had lost her premature daughter two hours after the birth and, in extreme madness, had stolen a newborn baby from the hospital nursery and had induced a perfectly healthy child to have the most diverse diseases, for a reason simple: keep her dependent and always needy.

As already mentioned, Chaganty makes way for dated, premeditated formulas, so to speak – and that’s what he longs for: we know the end of this spooky story, we know Chloe will find a way to escape torture. unconscious which turned her into a pet. What catches our attention, however, is the pleasant and tense conduction of each of the sequences – and how the staging and script promotes a shocking metamorphosis of two characters who believed they had it all in control. The pieces fit together perfectly and even bring the talented Torin Borrowdale, from “Locke & Key”, to the composition of the tetric and jarring soundtrack.

“Escape” has its slips, but it never goes off the rails; on the contrary, the thriller is a guarantee that Aneesh and his company weren’t lucky as newbies in their directorial debut, serving as a callback to keep tabs on a team of directors who still have a lot to tell us.

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