Movie review: There’s ‘No Escape’ from geopolitics
* * * (B)
Directed By John Erick Dowdle
Starring Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Lake Bell, Thanawut Kasro, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare
Rated R, Thriller, 105 minutes
In “No Escape,” Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters Lucy and Beeze (Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare) travel to an unstable, unnamed Southeast Asian nation and are caught up in a mob uprising that targets the country’s dictatorship and all foreigners, especially employees of the multinational conglomerate for which Jack works.
Wilson and Bell credibly portray parents whose first consideration is the protection of their daughters. Constantly on the move, the family stops to hide when possible, but occasionally they are forced to kill those seeking to execute them. The family’s flight is fraught with avoiding danger, including dodging gunfire, jumping from rooftops and hiding in plain sight by donning clothes scavenged from dead locals.
Collectively, critics give the film a stingy 40 percent approval rating, but viewers give it an appreciative 72 percent thumbs up. I’m with viewers on this one because the fast-paced thrill ride (devoid of special effects) is a thoughtful, adult movie exposing the geopolitics that make possible the control of another country’s resources (i.e. water) by wealthy Western corporations.
Pierce Brosnan shows up as British ex-pat Hammond, imparting both humor and surprise to the roster of otherwise relentless action.
Valued by most nations for our trade and tourist dollars, Americans are largely ignorant of the unscrupulous Western business practices that place targets on our backs. Because of the downturn in the American economy, Dwyer is driven to accept a job in an underdeveloped nation where he is confronted by this sobering reality.
Co-written by director John Erick Dowdle and his brother Drew, this relatively low-budget movie endures several clumsy moments that might have been tweaked by top-notch writers, but Dowdle deserves credit for his depiction of the pervasive brutality visited upon our less fortunate brothers and sisters abroad.
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