INHALE is a fine little gripping drama from writers Walter Doty and John Clafin who based this timely tale on a story by Christian Escario about the extremes to which people will go to when terminal illness takes the mains stage of their lives. It is a very dark story but survives becoming morbidly dreary by the sensitive direction from Baltasar Kormákur and a strong cast.
Paul Stanton (Dermot Mulroney) is a successful attorney married to Diane (Diane Kruger) and they have one child Chloe (Mia Stallard) who suffers form a terminal pulmonary disease. The family's life is driven by love but also by the fact that Chloe needs frequent emergency trips to the hospital because of her tenuous hold on life. Paul and Diane are finally told Dr. Rubin (Roseanna Arquette) that the only choice they have for saving Chole is a lung transplant. Paul searches the methods for finding an entry into this overcrowded demand for organ transplant and when he discovers that a powerful man James Harrison (Sam Shepard) received an illegal heart transplant in Mexico, Paul sets out to find the source. In Mexico he discovers just how crime-ridden is this area of 'sales' and persists until he uncovers a doctor Navarro - a code name - in the person of Dr. Martinez (Vincent Perez). The hideaway compound where the illegal transplants are performed is surrounded by poor people and gangs and the one person that helps the desperate Paul find the source of illegal organs is a kid who befriends him. When a 'donor' becomes available, there is a decision that Paul must make, one based on human kindness and compassion balancing with his won desires to deliver lungs to his daughter.
Mulroney is particularly excellent in this tough role and the gamut of emotions is staggering. And the remainder of the cast, including the gifted Jordi Mollà in an important cameo, is superb. The film is intense and disturbing but successfully explores the little known world of illegal organ transplantation. Another fine feather in the cap of Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur! Grady Harp, November 10