“No Escape” Review: A Fast Paced Thriller, That Certainly Doesn’t Help Promote Philippians Tourism
2015- 101 mins
Dir: John Erick Dowdle
“Blood for Water, Blood for Water, Blood for Water”, is a line chanted in the new Weinstein Company thriller, “No Escape”, which stars Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, and Lake Bell. After a political assassination, which is a catalyst for a military coup, Jack Dwyer (Wilson) stops at nothing to protect his wife (Bell) and his two daughters from being captured and killed by the guerrilla militia.
Dwyer, an American business man working for a major Clean Water company, relocates his family to Southeast Asia after his company makes a large purchase in the region. While in flight to their new home, a horrible event takes place on the ground which sets the tone for a fast-paced, adrenaline-rush film with few moments of talking to separate the tense sequences.
This movie works for a number of reasons, the main being is its running time. Director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, As Above, So Below) keeps the movie at a brisk 102 minutes and doesn’t add his own political beliefs, which would have bogged down this movie. The reason for the uprising that puts Dwyer and his family in danger is discussed very briefly, but is not at all the core of the movie, allowing you to focus on the family and the constant danger they are in, instead of the political landscape going on behind the scenes. There were a ton of opportunities that movies like “No Escape” have made the mistake of taking in the past that kill the flow, by adding a main villain, or having Wilson’s character run and try to take down the whole militia. Fortunately for the viewer the focus remains on the family trying to escape.
Of recent, unless Owen Wilson was in a Wes Anderson movie, I loathed him as an actor. He had zero range, playing the same character in every part, and his soft spoken “kind-hearted” wit is infuriating after 10 minutes. Wilson is at his best when he isn’t being funny, but tackling more serious roles like, “Behind Enemy Lines” and “Bottle Rocket” where his talent and timing to make a quick funny line to cut tension really works. There were some brutal scenes in this movie, that makes the viewer wonder what lengths they will go to to save their family, which I think is the goal the director was looking to achieve.
Pierce Brosnan plays an ex-pat who is visiting Southeast Asia for what seems like the hundredth time, and plays up a booze-hound persona with a huge infatuation for the “ladies of the night” in that area. He tags along with “Kenny Rogers” (played by Sanajak Boonthanakit) in his “Kenny Rogers” mobile which is one of a few light-hearted moments in this otherwise very gritty thriller. Brosnan’s character is basically included to help set up an end game for Wilsons character no matter how obvious the solution is to the viewer, and feels like a throw away character.
Although most of the movie is pretty good, there are a couple moments that drag along and do not really add to the plot but seem more like filler to meet the time length needed to be considered a full length motion picture. I did find it odd that Dowdle didn’t use subtitles to translate what the militia combatants were saying. I’d be very interested to understand their conversations, which would probably provide more insight into their motives for the coup, but we are left to translate on our own and assume they have only ill-intensions. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, there are certain parts of the movie where the camera is running along-side the family and that bouncing around made my wife nauseous and almost get sick in the theater so if you are afraid to vomit in public I would recommend waiting to watch at home for this one.
All-in-all, what you see is what you get with “No Escape” and its short running time is its best asset in letting the viewer into the nightmare of a father who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. So if you’re looking for some brutal moments, but a movie with very little story and high action, and do not get motion sickness, I say check it out.