- Nate Adams
Review: 'Exit Plan' feels like a suicide mission gone wrong
Courtesy of Screen Media
“Exit Plan” is an intriguing mystery that fails to satisfy its audience. The title is meant as a play on words about finding ways to leave this world peacefully. The moral conundrum of assisted suicide is one that’s been hotly debated and “Exit Plan” from director Jonas Alexander Arnby - his second feature - tries to frame a narrative around that subject.
At the center Is Max Isaksen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau who played Jamie Lannister in “Game of Thrones”) who's just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. To avoid a painful death, he decides to travel to the bitter north, surrounded by snow, (the location of which is up for interpretation), and register with Hotel Aurora. The team therein provides an alternative to end-of-life care, allowing patients to opt in to assisted suicide fantasies, complete with illicit star gazes. If they want, there remains can even be tossed in soil to help nourish a plant of their choosing. The only problem is once you check in, there’s no leaving. And if you try to flee, well, your suicide will happen much sooner than you think.
At 85 minutes and some change, “Exit Plan” doesn’t move as quickly as that runtime would suggest. Most of the film is a giant parable about whether or not Max is in his own head or not, and if he’s actually existing at that moment in time. Could he already be dead and we just don’t know it? Arnby would suggest the latter, but there’s not enough conclusive evidence to deduce such a claim. Max spends most of the movie staring off blankly at the screen, chatting with a neighbor who will later try to escape, and trying to find the nerve to tell his wife what his prognosis is.
The suspense really doesn’t heat up until the final twenty minutes, when Max has to make a decision about going through with the procedure or planning a break-out. The results leave plenty on the table and don’t reward those who have sat patiently waiting for some form of payoff. Waldau is the main driving force behind the picture, though his aimless expressions and worn-out mustache do little to elevate measures.
In all honesty, “Exit Plan” feels like a suicide mission gone wrong.
EXIT PLAN hits digital platforms starting Friday June 12th