Tagged: Storm Ashwood

Summary: A detemined journalist hunts down the solider that was in charge of her brother’s unit when he disappeared. She is shocked to find though that the incident has left the solider facing demons of his own.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian DVD Release Date: 10th June 2020

Country: Australia, United Arab Emirates

Director: Storm Ashwood

Screenwriter: Storm Ashwood

Cast: Gus Bohn (Billy), Warwick Comber (Father Batty), Firass Dirani (Welshy), Jai Godbold (Tan), Sonny Le (Thong), Steve Le Marquand (Carl Boddi), Jett Lowen (Bo), Josh McConville (Seth), Lydia Mocerino (Imogen), Rena Owen (Michelle Pennyshaw), Natalie Rees (Sarah), Jessi Robertson (Lizzy), Hugh Sheridan (Josh), Bonnie Sveen (Rebecca), Juwan Sykes (Stretch), Oliver Wenn (Phil)

Running Time: 92 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TV-14 (USA)





Dave Griffiths’ Escape And Evasion Review:

Often in cinema we see war glorified. The action star seemingly singlehandedly taking on a whole Army and coming out on top. Occasionally we do get to see the thought-provoking war film – films like Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge that such us the horrors of the battle field and have us questioning whether or not war is the necessity that we are led to believe it is.

What we rarely get to see though is the aftermath of war. What happens when the solider has left the battlefield and is now back at home trying to live an everyday life? Or what happens when somebody doesn’t return from war, is there family left wondering how they died? Was it quick, was it slow?

Those are the themes that Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood (School) chooses to focus on in his latest film Escape And Evasion and the result is a sensational film made even better by the performance of a leading man that deserves to pick up an award or two for his portrayal of a returned soldier at breaking point.

The plot is driven by Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen – Home And Away) a determined journalist who is trying to find out what happened to her solider brother who never returned from active service in Burma. To her frustration she finds that there is no record of what happened or even what Australian soldiers were doing there.

She finally hunts down the man that was in charge of her brother’s unit – Seth (Josh McConville – Fantasy Island) – a soldier who is so haunted by his experience that he has turned to alcohol to try and cover the pain. That has left him with a torn apart family but helps him deal with the secrets that his superior, Michelle Pennyshaw (Rena Owen – Once Were Warriors), asks him to keep.

As a film Escape And Evasion never gives its audience a chance to take a break. Whether it be tense dialogue-driven scenes between Seth and Michelle or Seth and Rebecca or combat sequences Atwood floods the film with tension. Instead of making the film an uncomfortable watch this instead just adds to the experience. You literally feel the tension building inside as you become desperate to know what happened to Rebecca’s brother and what the hell occurred that has left Seth the broken man that he is now.

Ashwood may well be one of the directional finds of 2020. His debut feature film – School – did show us that there was a gifted director just waiting to break out. While some were sceptical of the film it did show an artistic side and was brave enough to be different than other films in its genre. With Escape And Evasion Ashwood loses the artistic or experimental side but again goes about things differently as he mixes tense dramatic scenes between characters with emotional charged war and torture scenes. The result is a well-rounded film that leaves the audience not asking any questions at all.

Even with all the brilliance that the director shows with this film it would have fallen in a heap if he did not have the right leading man to bring the story to the screen. Luckily Ashwood found the exact right person to have play Seth in the form of under-rated Australian actor Josh McConville. With known actors like Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters) and Steve La Marquand (Last Train To Freo) also attached to the project you could easily understand if Ashwood had given one of them the leading role. Instead though he takes a chance on McConville who repays him with one of the best performances you are likely to see on screen in 2020.

Escape And Evasion is one of the cinematic shining lights of this year. An intense and dramatic film – it is one of those movies you will find wanting to watch two or three times to really embrace it. One thing the film will leave you with though is the knowledge that Josh McConville and Storm Ashwood need to be noticed by Hollywood.





Average Subculture Rating:



IMDB Rating:  Escape and Evasion (2019) on IMDb


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Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood is quickly becoming a director that the world is sitting up and taking notice off. His 2018 horror film The School was an eerie film that Del Toro would have been proud of and now Ashwood returns with the hard-hitting dramatic war thriller Escape And Evasion. In one sense Escape And Evasion is another type of horror as it depicts a soldier’s whose life is in ruin after a brutal covert operation in Burma has left him with PTSD.

When I get the chance to talk to Ashwood he is in a remote area of Thailand and he is overjoyed when I tell him how much I enjoyed the film. “Thank you, thank you,” he says humbly. “The film sort of matured out of two places. The first one came about when I was working on a documentary with a priest who funnily enough looked like Gandolf in Chang Mai who was smuggling refugees from Miramar over the border.”

“A close friend of mine who was ex-military and I got very close to being able to go on one of these jungle runs with this priest,” he explains. “We were going to see exactly what was going on and film it. But sadly the documentary was never finished because that priest was murdered, so it never got finished because I only had a little bit of footage. So, on top of that I also had a story that I had developed with a friends about events that had occurred in Iraq, it was quite tragic and it really showed the struggles of this particular guy trying to fit back into civilian life. Like he would be saying things like ‘I can shoot tanks and fly helicopters but I can’t get a job as a labourer, what is going on?’”

As Ashwood keeps talking to me about this solider it is easy to see the comparisons between him and the soldier that actor Josh McConville plays in Escape And Evasion. “He was having a lot of trouble with his family,” says Ashwood continuing. “Through all of that I was able to put together a story and I just kept hearing these stories. Then I also helped on a script on another documentary about child soldiers in Sierra Leone which was also another horrific story about children who were being abused and put into sex trafficking and drugs and stuff. Then I did a short film about refugees so I thought I would then put all these tales and stories into one script – one feature film. That was the birth of Escape And Evasion.”

One of the things that will stick with you after you watch Escape And Evasion are the harrowing scenes about PTSD and as Ashwood and I chat I soon learn that the amount of soldiers returning back to Australia with the terrible disorder is absolutely alarming. “Statistically they say about twenty per cent,” he answers when I ask what percentage of troops returning to Australia would be suffering from PTSD. “I think that it is more along the line of fifty percent, and it may even be a lot higher than that. I’m thinking about it rationally now because every single solider I have spoken to who has been in service you can see that they have undergone some form of suffering due to the events that they have been through.”

Perhaps the event though that has really shown Ashwood that his film hit its mark has been the reception it has received from military veterans with the film even picking up awards at the Veteran’s Film Awards. “That meant so much,” he says when I mention those awards. “One hundred percent hands down I knew that soldiers wouldn’t be the harshest critics. I know a lot of soldiers and I know some will say things like ‘I walked out of Black Hawk Down because Eric Bana was wearing the something wrong on his uniform for that time.’ They are really tough critics they’ll tell you that an actor has an elbow wrong when holding a gun or that he is looking over the barrel the wrong way so to hear that our film won those awards I was so honoured and so chuffed.”


The award winning Escape And Evasion is in cinemas now.