While preparing to go on an African excursion with his Russian girlfriend, Tally, Paul gets an urgent phone call from his ex-wife. She requests that Paul bring along their dour teenage daughter, Jo, who has been getting into trouble at school. It would seem that Jo is still smarting from her parents’ divorce and has been rebellious as a result. Paul’s ex-wife believes that the trip will help him bond with his daughter despite his girlfriend traveling with them. Exactly as you would predict Jo is a sullen brat who eschews the beautiful African landscape and exotic animals and instead buries her face in her iPad while acting disgusted with everything. Tally is patient with Jo initially but her thin veneer of positivity quickly wears off and the two clash. In an unexpected turn of events Paul is eliminated from the picture leaving Tally and Jo to their own devices in the hot tundra. With little water and no car the duo is relentlessly pursued by a gang of poachers.
Heatstroke started out promisingly. Beautiful cinematography captures the African landscape and the thin premise was enough to keep me hooked. However, the teenage character remained largely a brat with her big round head and “whatever” attitude. I mean, who would want to be stuck with this?
I would have feed her to the hyenas that were pursuing them at one point. In fact, on more than one occasion her ineptness and impulsivity almost gets them killed. The motivations of the generic “bad guys” never seem very clear. The film ends abruptly and unsatisfactorily.