Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

No Escape

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In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.

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Cast

Owen Wilson – Jack Dwyer

Lake Bell – Annie Dwyer

Sterling Jerins – Lucy Dwyer

Claire Geare – Beeze Dwyer

Pierce Brosnan – Hammond 

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Fantastic

From beginning to end No Escape was just superb. I don’t generally believe in the phrase ‘edge-of-your-seat’ – until I sat down to watch this movie. With scenes of nerve-shredding tension pretty much constant, No Escape delivered plenty of uneasy action which had me genuinely biting my fingers (yes – fingers. I also don’t believe many people chew on their nails during films either).

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What I liked most about this movie is how quickly it got going; it opens with a brief scene between the prime minister of Laos and a diplomat. A shock surprise quickly leads into the next scene where Jack and Annie and their two daughters are aboard an airplane, on their way to begin a new life in Southest Asia. And it’s not your classic ‘guy sitting with head against headrest, staring into to space for three minutes’, this airplane scene is also brief but offers viewers enough information as to what is going on. Then it moves on to the family’s arrival.
Then the father pops out to get a newspaper. Then it all kicks off. The plot unfolds at an impressive speed, whilst keeping the action at the same level; everything is fast-moving as Jack finds himself shifting from strolling down a street to sprinting through a maze of back streets, fighting for his life. As two massive gangs – one being the city police dressed in riot gear and the other being armed demonstrators – walk towards each other with nothing but violent intent, I was instantly reminded of The Purge: Anarchy. The action stirred the same feeling of dread in me that the 2014 hit did. But not just purgey stuff, No Escape contained elements of fear I’ve seen in other movies; particularly those I have very much enjoyed due to their authenticity.

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The movies above are an example of those features. Stew these movies together and you get No Escape. Although it might not be as gritty as these, it’s still as dark. Still creates the same air of panic and dread. And top marks for affecting me physically; I actually found myself trembling during certain scenes. Edge of my seat and shaking – if a motion picture can evoke this type of reaction then it’s done what it was supposed to.

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Surprised

Back in May, I went along to the cinema (shocking that isn’t it – me popping along to the cinema) to see a movie called Man Up. And as the movie started, I remember looking at the screen thinking, “who on earth is SHE? I’ve not seen her before..” when she appeared.

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Lake Bell.

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Actress of an unknown origin to me as I write this review, and I’m thinking of keeping it that way. Never knowing if she’s British, or American or other. Because believe me, this actress is absolutely SUPERB at being either. In Man Up, Bell played British singleton Nancy – and gave a fantastic performance, she was 100% believable in her role. Her vocal abilities (the classic British slang, speaking with her mouth full, etc) and physical abilities (delivering simple but effective bodily gestures which a British girl of her age would do) were beyond excellent. I was convinced the woman was English.
And then came No Escape. Delicate posture, motherly and genuinely American. Again, she had me convinced. Her accent was spot-on and as a viewer not knowing the actress’s origin, I assumed she was American. The actress delivers splendidly, and this was before the carnage..

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Bell portrays a devoted mother who will do anything to protect her children, and this comes across clearly during No Escape. The first scene where she comes into contact with ‘them’ sees her pressed against a hotel room door desperately trying to stop them getting in. Her face is screwed up in total terror with tears streaming down her face; it’s a fantastic piece of acting which boosts the air of already-impending dread. Impressive stuff.
Without leaking too much of the plot, I will say that the actress brings a hell of a lot of screaming, crying, and facial expressions of terror as well as a whole load of running during the movie – a superb peformance by Bell. Effortless. Flawless.

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Lucy (Jerins) and Beeze (Geare) are probably one of the most genuine pairings I’ve ever seen in a movie. Their on-screen chemistry with Bell and Owen is so believable it’s almost documentary-like, and playing two little sisters seems to come naturally to them. They’re not your classic irritating Hollywood siblings either; usually two sisters, two brothers or a brother and sister partnership contains one child who seems to constantly do or say the wrong things – I.E. running away from or towards something when fiercly told not to. I know kids are kids but by god they get on my nerves in the movies sometimes.
Not here. On the contrary, Lucy and Beeze portray the obvious – children who just want their parents to protect them. I found this endearing, and made even more realistic due to the girls’ performances. Good show from the little’uns.

1280x720-Qy3Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 21.11.39What Went Wrong

I hate this bit when reviewing a movie I really enjoyed. But it has to be done.

Although I really enjoyed No Escape, some viewers probably wont, due to its overly simple plot. Ultimately, you’re watching four people running away from aggressive foreign men (an event which probably takes place regularly on the streets of Ibiza during an 18-30’s holiday). It’s a load of ducking and diving and waiting in the dark for the men to pass, which could bore some people.
Also – the ending is quite brief, and uneventful. The danger the family find themselves in is instantly extinguished when their ‘boat ride’ comes to an end.
I didn’t like this, how quickly the anarchy came to a stop.

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No Escape had me exiting the cinema feeling completely satisfied and entertained.
Why?..
Because it’s one of those movies where what happens on screen can happen in real life. Such a feasible plot can create an unnervingly gripping movie, due to its realistic characters and easy shooting locations. One of the first scenes where Jack discovers the terrorists and literally runs for his life was brilliant; the whole ‘they’re coming to get you’ atmosphere as he legs it back to the apartment block and tries to make it upstairs, before the real action begins and together with his family, they try and outrun the men – is fantastic. Tense. Tight. Exciting yet sad. I loved every second.

Once in a while a movie comes along that I think looks average, but completely wins me over – this is one of those movies. It is a constant rush of adrenaline for its entire 102 minute screen time, with fire-engulfed explosions, shootouts, sprinting up stairwells, savage, helicopters, panic, dread, terrifying split-second decisions.. and all this is before we even get to the scene where Jack makes the horrific decision to launch his family from a rooftop with shocking consequences..

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If it’s a fast-paced thriller you’re after – look no further. Because you just found it.
I would definitely watch this again.

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This entry was posted on September 7, 2015 by .
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