Wilson shows his range in this fresh thriller that entertains with mass amounts of suspense.
An American family moves to Southeast Asia for a new career opportunity and hours after their arrival the country breaks out in a civil war as rebels lead a violent uprising and stuck in the middle, the family must find asylum before they run out of places to hide as Americans are being targeted.
It would be easy to overthink this script but taken at face value it turned out to be an intense thriller with a simple formula – innocent characters in the wrong place at the wrong time, with little hope of survival. The premise is somewhat able to relate with and when the plot kicks off immediately in the first-act I found my attention lured in right away. Once the pace picks up it does not slow down until the end and when the credits roll I let out a breath as if I just gotten off a roller-coaster.
Owen Wilson, more known for his comedic efforts was very good in this action and suspense filled role. Much like his performance in “Behind Enemy Lines” he was able to deliver believable emotion and felt perfect for the part of father in this cat-and-mouse thriller as he tries everything in his power to keep his small family alive. You can feel his moments of desperation and determination and quickly he creates a character you can root for. He never felt out of place and for being such a well known player in the comedy genre he was able to shed the persona completely in this performance.
One of the strongest aspects to this films enjoyment was the instantaneous manor in which the plot begins. The camera-work was great and pull you into the setting as Wilson’s character gets stuck out in the streets that are suddenly filled with rebels and police forces. The tension was incredible as the intensity went to the top of the meter like the flip of a switch. Being unknown to the area, not knowing the language and how to get back to his hotel all provide dramatic suspense and I found myself hanging on every scene.
The fight for survival depicted in this story was plausible for the most part and never felt over-the-top. The scenarios the family went through were gritty and suspenseful by continually delivery a ‘lack of option’ theme that compel you to see how it will finish. There were also a couple of beautifully shot scenes during some climactic moments that had my palms sweating from the creation of visually appealing cinematic moments.
There were a couple of movie conveniences to get the script to go where the filmmakers wanted but it did not hinder the enjoyment or the crucial third-act. There were many ways this film could have skewed to drop the enjoyment yet throughout, the intentions of the film held firm and in the end a harrowing fight for survival was crafted.
The locations were excellently shot and at the same time show the beauty of the region as well as the dangers lurking unseen. Films like these can also be hindered by unrealistic, or plain dumb character decisions. Other than a couple of instances, you can see the reasoning behind much of the actions and it helped make this thriller simply that, thrilling.
Pierce Brosnan was a nice addition to the film, his character was not well developed but giving more information to his placement would not have done much to hide the fact he was a plot device. Regardless he was solid and had a couple of riveting scenes that greatly added to the consuming nature of the story. Lake Bell was also strong in her performance and I really liked how her character was written, she was capable and served as a great partner to Wilson’s during their struggle to stay alive amid the chaos consuming them from all directions.
After seeing this trailer months ago my excitement for seeing it was strong and after watching I was every bit of the harrowing action-thriller I was hoping for, and to some point even better than predicted. Wilson should take on more roles like these because he is more than capable. If you want a film that will have you on the edge of your seat and consume your attention throughout, then “No Escape” will be a worthy night with a movie.