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Wanna Buy a Lung? Making a Mockery of Organ Trafficking in Inhale

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Inhale
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur
IFC Films
Opens October 22, IFC Center

Ripped from the headlines and sensationalized for your would-be pleasure, Inhale uses the appalling phenomenon of illegal organ trafficking as the basis for an almost-as-appalling hyperventilated thriller. Opening and closing cards inform us that organ demand outpaces supply by a ratio of 10:1, and that 15,000 people annually are “farmed” for their organs, which puts a sober public service frame around one seriously unhelpful piece of cockamamie fiction. Dermot Mulroney plays Paul Chaney, a Santa Fe D.A. whose young daughter is in dire need of a double lung transplant, and whose attempts at finding her a legal donor have all failed. Told of illegitimate alternatives by a concerned doctor (Rosanna Arquette), given a mysterious referral by a local politician (Sam Shepard, who spills the beans only after a heated, shirt-tearing, golf-green showdown), and encouraged by his wife (Diane Kruger, utterly wasted), he heads south of the border to rustle up a set of Mexican lungs. In lawless Juárez, he survives local gangsters and corrupt cops, panders to adorably disheveled street kids and a sacrificial transvestite, and learns, via show-stopping exposition, that bootlegged organs are taken out of poor people. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavík) gilds an already florid lily with needless gore, a bombastic score, and a climactic ambulance chase cross-cut with the last gasps of a dying child. The road to arthouse ruin is paved with good intentions.

 
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