REVIEW: 'Inhale' Hard to Swallow

It’s a fact: Thousands of people die every year without signing an organ donor card – and thousands more die for lack of a transplantable organ. There are never enough organs to go around – which leads to desperate measures such as the kind of “organ tourism” suggested in the new movie “Inhale.”

But this new film, directed by Baltasar Kormakur, is hard to swallow because, while it ramps up the desperation of its central character early on, it sticks him in the center of a ridiculous thriller plot.

He’s a privileged American attorney, Paul Stanton (Dermot Mulroney), who finds himself on the drug-cartel mean streets of Juarez, Mexico, carrying big stashes of cash to buy a pair of lungs for his dying daughter. You could say he goes looking for lungs in all the wrong places.

Stanton runs in circles in Juarez, from one bad neighborhood to another, in search of a mysterious Dr. Navarro, who supposedly has a pipeline to transplantable organs and a way to move newcomers to the top of the transplant list. In flashback, we see that Paul’s daughter has a serious lung ailment that puts her closer and closer to terminal crisis. Despite his best efforts, his daughter isn’t high enough on the transplant list to make a difference. So he takes matters into his own hands.

The idea that one ignorant tourist could stumble into as many wasp’s nests as Paul does in a couple days – and emerge alive – is particularly hard to swallow. Indeed, that may be the film’s biggest stretch – not that he could find trouble, but that he could walk away from it with just a few stitches and wounded pride.

You may get through “Inhale” without being bothered by any of these elements. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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