Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

The impact of this forceful indictment of our healthcare system is lessened by the sheer ubiquity of similarly themed documentaries.

Oct 8, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364718-Escape_Fire_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Another week, another documentary decrying the hopeless state of our national healthcare system.

Such is the inevitable reaction to Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s film that seeks to cover the medical waterfront. Informative, thoughtful and impassioned, it makes its arguments effectively via a well-organized combination of talking heads, facts and statistics and personal anecdotes. But there’s no escaping the fact that the sheer profusion of similarly themed efforts in recent years reduces their individual impact.

It’s clear to everyone, no matter where their position on the political spectrum, that there’s a lot wrong in the current state of American medicine. And this film devastatingly points out the reasons why, including an overreliance on pharmaceutical solutions rather than preventive care; the pernicious effects of bad lifestyle choices; the system of hospital and physician reimbursement that accentuates profits and volume rather than maximum attention; and the lack of regard for alternative medical treatments, among many others.

Among those offering commentary and possible solutions are medical journalist Shannon Brownlee and former Medicare head Don Berwick, as well as such well-known lifestyle gurus as Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Andrew Weil. The latter’s narrated tour through the nutritional monstrosities offered in a typical convenience store constitutes one of the film’s highlights.

Among the damning facts presented are that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country and that primary-care physicians earn only half as much as specialists.

The film is most effective when it concentrates on such individual stories as that of Dr. Erin Martin, a primary-care doctor disgusted over a system that forced her to spend as little time with patients as possible, and Sergeant Robert Yates, an injured Afghani war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who was on a heavy diet of pills until finally finding relief via such alternative therapies as meditation and acupuncture.

Unlike many other damning cinematic indictments, Escape Fire—the symbolic title refers to the counterintuitive method of starting one fire to stop another—does offer the optimistic view that solutions to the problems are within reach. That is, if viewers are still healthy enough to make the effort.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

The impact of this forceful indictment of our healthcare system is lessened by the sheer ubiquity of similarly themed documentaries.

Oct 8, 2012

-By Frank Scheck


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364718-Escape_Fire_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Another week, another documentary decrying the hopeless state of our national healthcare system.

Such is the inevitable reaction to Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke’s film that seeks to cover the medical waterfront. Informative, thoughtful and impassioned, it makes its arguments effectively via a well-organized combination of talking heads, facts and statistics and personal anecdotes. But there’s no escaping the fact that the sheer profusion of similarly themed efforts in recent years reduces their individual impact.

It’s clear to everyone, no matter where their position on the political spectrum, that there’s a lot wrong in the current state of American medicine. And this film devastatingly points out the reasons why, including an overreliance on pharmaceutical solutions rather than preventive care; the pernicious effects of bad lifestyle choices; the system of hospital and physician reimbursement that accentuates profits and volume rather than maximum attention; and the lack of regard for alternative medical treatments, among many others.

Among those offering commentary and possible solutions are medical journalist Shannon Brownlee and former Medicare head Don Berwick, as well as such well-known lifestyle gurus as Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Andrew Weil. The latter’s narrated tour through the nutritional monstrosities offered in a typical convenience store constitutes one of the film’s highlights.

Among the damning facts presented are that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country and that primary-care physicians earn only half as much as specialists.

The film is most effective when it concentrates on such individual stories as that of Dr. Erin Martin, a primary-care doctor disgusted over a system that forced her to spend as little time with patients as possible, and Sergeant Robert Yates, an injured Afghani war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who was on a heavy diet of pills until finally finding relief via such alternative therapies as meditation and acupuncture.

Unlike many other damning cinematic indictments, Escape Fire—the symbolic title refers to the counterintuitive method of starting one fire to stop another—does offer the optimistic view that solutions to the problems are within reach. That is, if viewers are still healthy enough to make the effort.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Citizenfour
Film Review: Citizenfour

Documentary account of how Edward Snowden leaked intelligence to the world press. More »

Glen Campbell I'll Be Me
Film Review: Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me

Alzheimer's is given an unforgettably human face here, and that face belongs to a music legend. More »

White Bird in a Blizzard
Film Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

A clichéd indie about a girl’s coming-of-age amidst her mother’s disappearance that, despite a sturdy lead performance by Shailene Woodley, is undone by hackneyed, go-nowhere plotting. More »

Exists
Film Review: Exists

Blair Witch Project co-director Eduardo Sanchez returns to the faux-found footage well and hauls out a bucketful of Bigfoot in this derivative but creepy shocker. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here