Written and directed by Scott Ashwood. Escape and Evasion is an Australian film that tells the story of a lone soldier who has returned home with chronic PTSD, trying his best to get his life back on track.
Seth (Josh McConville) has returned home to Queensland after all of his men have been killed in Burma. Finding it hard to cope with a regular life due to his PTSD, Seth is constantly being reminded of what he went through, which causes him to have horrifying hallucinations that send him into panic. It doesn’t help that Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen) an investigative journalist and sister of one the men that was killed, is trying to force as much information as she can about her brother’s death from Seth so that she can have some closure. Seth naturally is hesitant to relive the painful memories, with the burden of his mental health struggles getting in the way of his relationship with his daughter. Possibly jeopardise him from to losing shared custody.
While there is nothing groundbreaking about Escape and Evasion, the scenes depicting PTSD are very powerful. For example; when Seth is reminded of something that has happened in Burma, his suffering is shown with his hands shaking and eventually, Seth breaking down in tears. More visual examples and representations of Seth’s PTSD are displayed when he hallucinates his bed being made out of mud, or his hands being covered in blood. I felt the imagery was creative and unique for a film of this type. The film’s strong message brings awareness of PTSD and what people can go through when they have it.
The filming locations used for the war scenes look fantastic and really set the dark tone of the film, as there was a lot of rain and mud in the jungle, which matched the same mud that you see in Seth‘s hallucinations. The costume and props department did an incredible job with their attention to detail with the design of the soldier uniforms and their weapons also looked convincingly realistic.
Escape and Evasion‘s narrative is told by the use of flashbacks to Burma and then cutting back to present day. The scenes set in Burma are at times intense and somewhat uncomfortable due to the very real depictions of the soldiers being tortured, but it fits with the subject matter of the film. I also enjoyed that Escape and Evasion keeps you guessing on what really happens to Seth and Rebecca‘s brother. The film doesn’t exactly give you a lot of clues to work with, but it will keep you captivated and curious, right up until the very end.
Escape and Evasion isn’t the first film to portray PTSD, and it won’t be the last. But with a unique take on displaying PTSD, the film is different enough to stand on its own in both the Australian cinematic catalog and the war drama genre.
Escape and Evasion opens in select cinemas across Australia from the 5th of March.