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"Escape from Tomorrow"
*** (three stars)
"Escape from Tomorrow" just might be one of the bravest movies I've ever seen at the Sundance Film Festival. And for that, I recommend you go see it during the festival because it may well be your last chance. It's an independent film in the truest sense, a scrappy black-and-white film shot guerilla-style at Disneyland and Disney World. There's a reason it's shot covertly it's a darkly comic, surreal vision of the amusement park landscape, a psychadelic trip through the fanciful world of Disney imagination that Disney the corporation would never have approved of. Jim (Roy Abramsohn) is a otherwise mild-mannered father who is on the last day of his trip to Disney World with his wife and two kids when he's learned he has been laid off. Bent on hiding the news from his family for the last day of their vacation, Jim instead gets pulled onto a David Lynchian stage of weirdness where Disney princesses sideline as high-paid hookers and the "It's a Small World" ride is a journey through demonic imagery. If that weren't enough, Jim is attracted to two European teen-agers at the park to the point of stalking them from ride to ride. Director Randy Moore delivers a wildly uneven view of a nightmarish day at Disneyland, but it's undeniable that there is an underlying layer of creepiness that will make any middle-aged parent feel queasy. With a litigous Disney likely to pounce on any real shot this movie has at national distribution, it's very possible that "Escape from Tomorrow" will never see the light of a projector again. But one only hopes it does.
"Escape from Tomorrow" screens again: Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City; Saturday at 3 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema, Salt Lake City.