If you’re lucky, you don’t spend much time at the hospital, but all of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves needing medical care. And when we’re sick or injured, we want to believe that the health care system we have in place has our very best interests in mind. Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care, debuting at Sundance 2012 paints a picture that may make you rethink what it means to be “healthy” and how much you trust your doctor’s advice…

The Players:

  • Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke
  • Executive Producer Doug Scott 
  • Producers Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke 
  • Cinematographers Wolfgang Held, Matthew Heineman 
  • Editor Bradley Ross 
  • Music Moby, Chad Kelly


Our health care system is broken. It’s almost three times more expensive than that of other developed countries (and rising). It is not about making people well, but rather about treating the symptoms of diseases. It incentivizes doctors to see as many patients as they can (some doctors have it down to few minutes per visit) with no regard for the outcomes for each individual patient. Escape Fire weaves together the stories of well-meaning doctors, patients and health care professionals to illustrate the depth and breadth of the problem, which is non-centralized, but systematic and to which we are all subject.

The Good:

What this film does well is examine the bureaucratic and political stake holders in the health care issue; explaining why change will be hard, and offering data from new research and medical methods to inform the discussion and show just how necessary that change is.

The Bad:

For me, this film was good, but non-revelatory. Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke are preaching to the choir here.  I’m familiar with the connections between an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and repeat disease-treating rather than preventative care. But I would still put it in the same ballpark as Food, Inc. or King Corn, which touch on some of the same topics.


This is a solid, informative, and entertaining documentary with a stellar soundtrack by Moby. Is it the IT documentary this year? I don’t think so. But it’s a worthwhile watch.

Rating: 6/10