The Michigan Times

No Escape

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Photo Credit: Media Submitted

Photo Credit: Media Submitted

Photo Credit: Media Submitted

Justin Shanlian

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“No Escape” is a film centered on a revolution sparked by bringing clean water to a foreign country.

Not only is this the plot muddled, but throw in Owen Wilson, and you will leave the theater a little less intelligent for having to sit through such utter nonsense. You may even need a couple aspirin to help with the headache “No Escape” causes.

“No Escape” is written and directed by John Erick Dowdle, who is a younger filmmaker, but has seen some success with films like “Devil” and “As Above, So Below.” Dowdle is a filmmaker who is still on the cusp of trying to find his voice as a filmmaker but needs a few more years to polish his work. At this stage in his career, his dialogue is reminiscent of a daytime soap opera.

The entire plot of “No Escape” is about a company coming to an unknown Asian country to bring fresh water to the masses.  Rebels get up in arms over the company’s presence in their country and begin killing anyone that gets in their way . The extremity of this violence is in poor taste and dilutes the overall message of the film. It is almost as if he was using it for shock value to boost ticket sales for his failed attempt to tell a story with any cohesion whatsoever.

This film stars Wilson, Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. All these actors give some solid performances across the board, and Brosnan really shines in the role of Hammond. Brosnan’s Hammond has depth and you are always curious about what his intentions are, since it is a little bizarre to see an inebriated Brosnan sing karaoke even though it is humorous.

Bell also does a nice job in her role as Annie. She is the real standout here and her scenes are the most believable. Unfortunately, it is not believable to see Wilson try to reignite his career as an action star. This isn’t the late ‘90s and early 2000s when Wilson was in his heyday, starring in action films like “Starsky and Hutch,” “Armageddon” and “Behind Enemy Lines.” He is the weak one in this film.

The way that the camera composes scenes in this film is jarring. Dutch tilts (angling the camera for dramatic flare) are used far too often and do nothing to enhance the tension or storytelling. There were times when entire scenes seemed out of focus. The cinematography is lackluster and really hurt this film. Popular techniques like steady cam have had success in other action films, but it simply fails in “No Escape.”

Marco Beltrami composes the music for this film. Beltrami, who has had such a long career scoring films like “3:10 to Yuma,” “Snowpiercer” and “The Hurt Locker” takes this film’s score and runs it straight into the ground with his muddled compositions, overbearing bass and electronic overtones that simply don’t fit this film.

“No Escape” doesn’t leave you wanting more, it makes you simply want to leave, or “escape” the theater. Nonetheless it is not a total failure, but this film simply cannot be recommended in good faith.

Grade: D-

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