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

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Film Review: The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

As charming as it is delicate, this unusually low-key, if a tad overlong, animated feature brings yet more prestige to the famed Ghibli output. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

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

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. 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