Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Don't Think Too Hard about 'No Escape'

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Don't Think Too Hard about 'No Escape'

Article excerpt


A rather clumsy but also rather effective thriller, "No Escape" is a dark night's ride through a landscape of xenophobia and primal instincts. It's the sort of movie that accomplishes its mission but makes you feel a little slimy after watching it.

It's about an American family who land in some unnamed Southeast Asian country to start a new life with dad working for a benevolent U.S. company building a plant to provide drinking water for the spectacularly ungrateful natives, who launch a coup almost the minute they get to their hotel and start hunting foreigners for summary execution.

There's more to it, of course. Director John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine"), who co-write the script with brother Drew, throws in suggestions that the Western spooks and suits have been here for some time, ripening up the ground for economic enslavement. Hey, somebody says, maybe all those leering marauders shooting American tourists in the back of the head are just freedom fighters standing up for their own children!

I'm guessing this is supposed to make us feel better about cheering when the yanks smash in the face of some anonymous bandana- wearing thug. Today's globally-themed disposable entertainment comes conveniently embedded with its own white guilt.

Owen Wilson and Lake Bell play the parents, and they're the best things about the movie. They're likeable and emotionally identifiable figures, and both have faces that are fascinating to watch in the way their beauty seems to transgress every supposed rule of how attractive people are supposed to look. I'm guessing a bunch of people told them they were ugly as teenagers, and look at 'em now.

Like Gerard Depardieu's, Wilson's nose boasts more interesting topography than most mountain ranges, with clefts, ravines and humpback rises. Thank God the plastic surgeons never got ahold of him. …

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