A.C. at the Movies…

Commentary by A.C. Hall
Commentary by A.C. Hall

 No Escape

Is it one of your deepest fears to get caught in the midst of a riot or violent coup while visiting a third world country?  Well, if not, it will be after you watch No Escape.  This movie does an excellent job of bringing the chaos and horror of an out of control violent situation to the screen.  Is it a good movie?  Yes, it is.  Is it enjoyable to watch?  Not exactly.
Movies can be strange sometimes, and No Escape does something that I rarely see.  This movie does such a good job of creating the hopeless, desperate feeling of being trapped in a city while a violent revolution is happening that it becomes uncomfortable to watch.  The movie isn’t about an action hero fighting bad guys; it’s about a regular married couple and their two kids almost getting murdered.  For an hour and a half straight.  
Maybe it’s a silly complaint, but to me the movie made this situation so real that you just feel sort of sick watching it unfold.  It’s a horrifying scenario that seems all too possible in today’s unstable world.  Watching the family and their children fight for their lives may be thrilling, and it may be well done, but it’s not exactly an enjoyable experience.
Stars Owen Wilson and Lake Bell do a really good job in this movie.  They both feel like regular people and never fall into any action movie stereotypes.  This is just a mom and a dad doing whatever it takes to keep their kids alive.  Pierce Brosnan isn’t in the movie much, but when he is he steals the show.  Brosnan is completely transformed in No Escape, giving us a character that shows the man still has some great acting range in him.

It’s been quite some time since I saw a movie that was able to build this much tension.  From the early moments of the riots when Owen Wilson is simply trying to navigate the foreign city to their desperate fight to escape their hotel, this movie builds tension constantly.  If you want to see a truly tense thriller, this movie was made just for you.
There’s a lot of action in this movie and all of it is presented really well.  Rarely does it feel staged, instead fitting perfectly within the framework of the movie.  The family has to evade and fight bad guys in a variety of situations, and each time it’s filled with tension and realism.  It may not make for the most beautifully choreographed action, but what’s presented fits perfectly with the movie overall.
In addition to the mountains of tension is a ton of violence.  This is a brutally violent movie, made more so by how real the whole thing feels.  So keep that in mind before making a decision to head out to the theater.
For me, I didn’t love No Escape simply because of how it made me feel.  This movie makes you feel desperately afraid for the characters as they fight for their lives.  To be fair, the fact that it worked so well on me means it’s an incredibly well done film.  I just think that it’s so well done that it makes it more of an experience in tension than an enjoyable relaxing time at the movies.

This movie is rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, and for language