HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: No Escape
HTS Overall Score:76
Fear is a powerful motivator. It keeps us alive, it keeps us paralyzed at times, but it still is a basic human instinct that drives humans to do unspeakable acts of violence, or to protect what one loves the most. “No Escape” takes a look at fear in a location outside of the thriller norm. Here in a 1st world country, we don’t have fears of roving gangs killing, slaughtering, raping and otherwise causing mayhem to the general public on the same scale as a third world Asian country goes through every day. Sure we have murders, we have rapes, we have violent acts committed by people, but not to the point that we have to fear EVERY DAY of our lives. “No Escape” takes a look at an American family in one of those countries, and the sheer terror that drives a person to protect their family, whatever the cost.
The Dwyer family has just moved to an undisclosed Asian country just on the Vietnamese border due to a job transfer. Father, Jack (Owen Wilson) is an engineer who has just taken a new job in a water reclamation company in said Asian country after his previous job left him high and dry after folding. His wife Annie (Lake Bell) is not exactly pleased with the situation, but they’re doing their best to fit into a new society in hopes of a better life with their two daughters, Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare). Upon arriving they are settled into a mildly comfortable hotel, just one that doesn’t benefit from the high end technological backbone that a 1st world country would have. Their good day is short lived, though, with Jack waking up and being privy to an entire ARMY of insurgents coming out of the woodwork and slaughtering everyone in their path.
What unfolds next is a scene that would terrify any sane human. Jack runs back to his hotel only to have it overrun by insurgents looking for any foreign face to kill and abuse in impotent rage. Using every disguise at his disposal, every desperate measure to escape, Jack soon realizes that he’s boxed in at every turn. His only savior comes in the form of a brash and lewd character by the name of Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), a man who has more than a few secrets of his own and a particular set of skills that may be the only hope for the survival of the Dwyer family.
“No Escape” is an INTENSE movie. From the get go you’re met with an opening scene of terror and then flash back about 17 hours earlier where you’re left with an eerie sense of discomfort until the action kicks in. Then the action kicks off without warning and doesn’t let up until the final moments of the film. The entire rest of the film is a swirling vortex of chaos wherein the Dwyer family is terrified and on the run from just about everyone in the movie. Insurgents are running through the city at will, ripping up everything in their path in an effort to kill and torture every foreigner for punishments they deem fit for “invading” their country.
At heart, “No Escape” is a very simple film. It’s a family in a fish out of water situation, confused and on the run from villains that have no clear motive, and it really WORKS. You don’t need to know the motivations for the killing of the Prime Minister, you don’t even need to know WHICH country it takes place in, as the situation is really the driving force. I had a blast with the movie as it was one of the most surprisingly tense thrillers I had seen in quite some time, especially considering Owen Wilson’s fall from grace theatrically and the low budget of the movie. Pierce Brosnan isn’t in the movie as much as you would think he is from the cover, but his role is very pivotal to the saving of the family. A secret that really is no secret just by looking at the cover. The ONLY frustration I really had with the movie was a few minutes of discussion between Jack and Hammond. They tried to politicize the situation a bit too much and once again the big bad evil capitalist companies are to blame. It’s a rather brief conversation and really doesn’t add anything to the plot of the film. In fact I would say it actually detracts a little bit as the reason for the insurgency really didn’t matter up until that point, and I don’t see why it mattered afterwards.
Rated R for strong violence, and for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59785[/img]The 1.85:1 AVC encoded transfer looks good, but rather inconsistent overall. The opening shots and the daylight scenes of the unmentioned Asian country look really nice, with bright colors and evenly balanced contrasts. Fine detail is ok, but nothing wild, with some inherent softness to the image. However the handicam nature of the filming style can lead to some rougher spots. Night shots can be filled with digital noise and some definite banding at times. Fine detail is again, just ok, with a soft look and diffused take that doesn’t lend itself to razor sharp accuracy. Black levels are decent, but the video noise is appreciably worse in those blacker moments, with some mild crush. It’s a solid transfer, but a bit uneven in clarity.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=59793[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is an aggressive track, punishingly so in fact. From the moment the film starts we are privy to some roaring bass from the Boeing 747 landing, as well as the gunfire form the prime minister’s death. Once the action actually starts there is a heavy, pulsing tone to the track that just doesn’t let up until the end. Gunshots impact with sharp precision and the screams of people dying comes from all directions. Surrounds are in constant use, with the rattle of loos stones and the crash of metallic rigging as the insurgent’s rampage throughout the streets. Vocals are crisp and clear at all times, never being overpowered by the rest of the chaos surrounding them.
• Director's Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Behind the Scenes
“No Escape” is a raw, and very tightly wound film that relies on a fantastic sense of dread that overshadows the entire movie to work. Theirs is very little filler, and just about every scene in the movie drives them one more step closer to freedom, or closer to death. The writer is quite well done, and I haven’t seen Pierce Brosnan try this hard in a long time, which is saying a lot. Audio is fantastic and while the video is a bit subpar in comparison to big blockbusters, it certainly does the job. Definitely recommended if you like thrillers.
Starring: Lake Bell, Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan
Directed by: John Erick Dowdle
Written by: John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Starz/Anchor Bay
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: November 24th, 2015
Buy No Escape Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for a Watch
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