A bit clunky and giving off strong seventies vibes, No Way Out is a thriller you watch when you have nothing better to do. I mean, it works best that way. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t require much attention and you’re willing to immerse yourself in the story, it can be a lot of fun. One of the first things I noticed is the level of cultural insensitivity. I don’t know if this is the novel’s, eighty’s, or movie’s fault but in the first half-hour, it insults both New Zealand and the Philippines. And presents one obnoxious main character.
However, as the story slowly unfolds, we get more and more interested and ultimately forget that any of this ever happened. And if you want to know more about the Philippines part of the story, I recommend you check out the Fat Leonard scandal. There’s also a nice and digestible Vice short documentary about it. Most of the story is happening within the walls of the Pentagon offering a realistic view into the inner workings of such a place.
We will be following one charming navy officer who finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. With No Way Out, if I may be so bold. The world the movie builds feels realistic despite a couple of plot holes. It’s a nasty world of high politics clouded by ambition and personal frivolity. A world of old white men. And yet we spend far too much time focused on the romance. I think that this movie’s biggest problem is that it tries to be too much like a novel. At least in my opinion.
Sometimes this is exactly what you want, a little piece of escapism to immerse yourself in. And sometimes you keep screaming just get on with it at the screen every ten minutes. So, you have to time this one right. You can also feel that this was the main thing about the movie, to put yourself in the position of our lead character. To be this charming, smart and attractive man now navigating different waters.
Tom Farrell is a young and perspective naval officer who gets a little wild sometimes. After he heroically saves one of his crewmates during a heavy storm, he gets noticed by the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense David Brice was looking for someone like him to help him in his political schemes. So, Tom starts working for him but in just a couple of days everything changes. A tragic incident will kick off a shitstorm that’s going to envelop the entire security apparatus of the country. With Tom smackdab in the middle of it.
I think that by now you get the picture of what kind of movie No Way Out is. It presents all these potent elements that are highly reactive and if they interact, the story could take us anywhere. They are generated by well-developed and realistic characters played by an excellent cast. Our lead trio consisting of Costner, Hackman, and Young did a terrific job. However, Will Patton stole the show as the fixer Scott Pritchard. Finally, if you’re looking for something similar but more intensive and modern check out Out of Time starring Denzel Washington.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writers: Kenneth Fearing, Robert Garland
Cast: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Howard Duff, George Dzundza, Iman
Fun Facts: Kevin Costner performed most of his own stunts.