BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Nov 2nd, 1999 •

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A Showtime feature, and one which slipped by without my hearing of it, particularly strange since Treat Williams is in all three of the Substitute sequels, and Rocco and I have therefore made an effort to keep up with his work.

It’s a compact, straightforward little cautionary tale which builds its inherent horror admirably, makes one reflect on how a country like ours could ever deal efficaciously with countries in the middle east, and supports my writing partner’s one overriding credo in life: Never Get Off The Boat!

Based on a harrowing true story, Treat is an architect who lands a lucrative deal in Saudi Arabia, flies over to expedite things, and finds himself in an ever more frustrating, and eventually dangerous, series of circumstances predicated on the notion that in Arab countries what is written is not necessarily what is meant. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s a one-gag situation which is thoroughly explored for all of its surprising and grisly possibilties. The fact that Treat depicts his character as an intelligent, reasonable, trusting individual makes his dilemma all the more upsetting. The third act is a riot of an idea (which I won’t spoil), and the filmmakers pull it off. And a series of title cards at the end confirm that the adventure had all the negative ramifications that a true story sadly might: Hollywood did not come to the rescue of the innocent.

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