Friday, November 23, 2018

"Viper Club" deals with critical issue of citizens' paying private ransom to overseas terrorists; I missed the brief theatrical run




It looks like I missed Roadside Attraction’s theatrical release of “Viper Club” on Oct. 26, produced in partnership with Google's YouTube films. 

It appears to have played in few theaters and not for long, according to this Washington Post review by Alan Zilberman.

The film is directed by Maryam Keshavarz and written with Jonathan Mastro. 

But the point of the plot is important. Susan Sarandon plays an emergency room nurse Helen whose journalist  son (Julian Morris) has been captured in Syria.


The United States does not pay ransom to terrorists, and it is illegal for American family members to pay ransom or raise money in these circumstances.  The film trailer says that anyone who contributed to such an effort could be prosecuted.

However, according to various stories, like this one on US News by David Jackson and Kevin Johnson in June 2015, Obama cleared the way for legal private payments in these circumstances in 2015.  

It would be very difficult for a private citizen to be approached to contribute such an effort.  Yet, I personally know journalists who work overseas.  I wonder how I would react.  That’s why I regret overlooking this film when it first came out.
  
There seems to be one probably illegal copy on YouTube now.  YouTube plans to release it for purchase or rental (legally) in early 2019.  Netflix will save the DVD (probably LionsGate) but has no release date.  It would be desirable for this film to be released “legally” online as soon as possible, right after any brief theatrical runs, because the subject matter is so critical.

I will see the film as soon as it is properly available again, and do a full review on Wordpress then.
   
Wikipedia picture attribution:
   
By Qasioun News Agency - Damascus: Part Of The Running Battles In Qaboon Neighborhood 29-4-2017, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58809332

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