Directed by Baltasar Kormakur
Starring Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger, Sam Shepard, Rosanna Arquette
“Inhale” wastes no time hitting you over the head with its central moral dilemma: If forced to choose, should you do what’s right? Or what’s right for your family? When we first meet lawyer Paul Stanton (Dermot Mulroney), the conflicted hero of “Inhale,” he’s en route to Juarez, Mexico, to find a pair of lungs for his dying daughter, who’s been languishing on a donor list for months. We also learn that Paul is defending a child molester in court — not because he identifies with molesters, but because he believes in due process.
So, should a letter-of-the-law lawyer exploit poor populations for their organs? Or should he let his daughter die? With some prodding from his wife (Diane Kruger), Paul takes the former route and promptly pays for it — he gets beaten, robbed and held at gunpoint within 24 hours of crossing the border. He’s looking for a “Dr. Navarro,” but every lead lands him in some life-threatening situation.
Subtlety is not this thriller’s strong suit, as all the baddies of Juarez converge on Paul like mosquitoes to a light. We get it — the sordid world of organ trafficking is no place for a gringo like him. There’s hardly a need to play up the danger by bombarding us with contrived plot twists and shaky-cam shots, especially when you’re dealing with a subject as intrinsically creepy as organ trafficking.
At the heart of “Inhale” is a compelling moral quandary, but the strained and confusing story compromises the film’s more thoughtful qualities.