Family man Jack Dwyer, whose own company went bust, is taking his wife and two children to Southeast Asia for a new start. He works for the Cardiff as an engineer for the water company. He is looking forward to a new exciting life. Unfortunately the excitement levels peak when a bloody coup takes place endangering every foreigner in the country. No Escape follows his attempt to save himself and his family.
Co-written and directed by John Erick Dowdle (Dowdle’s brother Drew Dowdle was a the other scribe on the film.) No Escape is a “wrong place, wrong time” film. Literally the day the Dwyer’s plane lands, the country turns into a battleground where foreigner’s are being savagely murdered on sight.
Owen Wilson plays Dwyer, his first dramatic role in years, and the splendid Lake Bell plays his wife Annie. The children, Lucy and Beeze are played superbly by Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare respectively. Hammond, the “British CIA” type is a grizzled Pierce Brosnan.
Brosnan manages to convey a sense of realism to his character. A man paid to bring down the peaceful society who feels guilty for endangering Dwyer and his family.
No Escape is nail-bitingly tense. The chaotic wholesale murder of every foreign person found by a mob of armed and crazed citizens is, at times, terrifying. The rioting populace either shoot or hack to death everyone they encounter. Dwyer realizes that to survive he needs to keep 10 steps ahead of the mob.
The country is obviously meant to be Cambodia, as it is right next to Vietnam; the country the family head for to claim asylum, although it is never called by name. The scenario, of world powers messing about with small countries so they can take control is not too far fetched at all.
Some of the scenes are a bit over the top or feel a bit “off.” There is a scene with the oldest daughter and the leader of the mob that strains credibility. The helicopter scene also feels a bit contrived.
However, this is an edge of the seat thriller from start to finish. By the end of the film the viewer will feel wrung out and exhausted from all the tension and suspense involved. Dowdle, whose last effort was the horror movie As Above, So Below proves to be a dab hand at action thrillers.
The film looks brilliant and certainly feels authentic, it was shot in Thailand, which adds to the toe curling sense of tension that pervades every scene. This is a white knuckle ride for the viewer with no let up at all.
No Escape earns a 4.5 stars for the acting, the storyline and the high level of almost excruciating tension throughout. All the actors killed it and made this a film that was almost too tense to watch.
This “R” rated fim is streaming on Hulu at the moment. Do not be surprised if you grit your teeth and clench your fists throughout this high tension film.