No Escape (Blu-ray)

November 23, 2015 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

You think you had a bad day?

The world is a big place and I’ve only seen a small sliver of it. Odds are that sliver won’t grow too much before I check out. That’s not me being fatalistic, just realistic. I mean, even assuming you traveled all your life – how much of the world would you actually see? Having said that, it’s also a scary place out there. Growing up in the US and, for better or worse, living a very “sheltered” life has its advantages…and disadvantages. I think we take it for granted that things in different places and cultures is so different than what we’re used to. I took my first trip overseas this year and was walking the streets of Istanbul (a very interesting city, I might add – it connects two continents). I saw some things that I’d not even seen on the streets of New York. With the threats of terrorism in the news on a seemingly daily basis, it makes travel a very dangerous thing.  No Escape tells that story and will most likely cement any fear you might have about something bad happening while abroad.

Meet Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson). Jack’s company has just been purchased by a Malaysian conglomerate that will help purify the water there. As a result, he and wife Annie (Lake Bell) and the kids are uprooting from Texas and heading overseas. It all starts innocently enough when the phones don’t work, the television is out and the internet is down. Putting it all aside, Jack heads out the next morning for a paper only to be literally caught in the middle of an uprising. The people don’t want this company to take over the water purification and are revolting (not peacefully, I might add) against the police.  Lives are lost, Americans are shot in the street and it’s not before long that Jack is in their crosshairs. Jack and family now not only have to worry about staying alive for the next few days, but finding someone who could possibly help them. With the sanctuary of Vietnam only a few miles away, will they be able to escape or is all hope lost?

This is an intense movie, no doubt about it. Couple that with the fact that it plays out in a close approximation of real-time and it only intensifies the emotion. While I do think that the events in this movie are exaggerated, I’m certain that they can, have and will happen at some point in time. I’ve never walked down the street and seen a man shot in the head, I’ve never had to throw the wife and kids off a building to escape certain death and have never bludgeoned another human with a desk lamp.  These are only a few of the things that the characters in this movie have to do in order to survive. Though I didn’t mention it above, the movie does also star Pierce Brosnan in a supporting role (he made the cover, obviously – he was James Bond after all). Though not one of the more mainstream movies, I actually felt a connection with this one. And it’s nice to see Owen Wilson in a change of character – he makes a convincing father and “family man.”

Video: How’s it look?

The 1.85:1 AVC HD image looks pretty darn good. Shot digitally, it has everything that “new” technology has to offer. Let me explain that a bit more, there’s just a difference between films shot on film and those shot digitally. I’m sure purists prefer film while I’m a fan of anything new. There’s no right or wrong answer.  We get a lot of sweeping visuals, especially from rooftops, Wilson’s trademark shaggy blonde mane is in fine form and Lake Bell spends the first act wearing a bikini top (and I’m not complaining). Still, detail is sharp, colors seem accurate and about the only thing I can really think to complain about is the sense of depth that the image has. It seems rather flat. That said, it’s a visually-appealing movie and if you’ve ever wanted to see James Bond with a 5’clock shadow – here’s your chance.

Audio: How’s it sound?

There’s a lot going on in the audio front during this movie. I chose to watch it at 10:30 on a Sunday and my wife was in bed upstairs. I’d cranked the receiver down a bit and was turning it up and down through the course of the film. Things blow up, helicopters zoom across the sky, machine guns are fired and trucks run people down. As I said before a LOT happens with the audio on this DTS HD Master Audio track. Vocals are rich and pure, surrounds add extra ambiance when needed and the front stage handles the rest with the utmost of ease.  I wasn’t really expecting a track quite this powerful, so imagine my surprise when it wowed me.  And my wife wasn’t woken up, so kudos to me for keeping it at a reasonable level.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – The Dowdle Brothers (John Erick and  Drew) who both wrote and directed the film, give a pretty informative commentary track. They’re a little more involved that some directors and give a ton of insight on the shot, some technical qualities of the film as well as the casting and so forth.
  • Deleted Scenes – Two total, both feature optional commentary with Writer/Director John Erick Dowdle.
  • Behind the Scenes – Four total, each profiling a major player in the film (as well as the writers/directors).
      Owen Wilson

      Lake Bell

      Pierce Brosnan

      The Dowdle Brothers

The Bottom Line

A late summer release and one that will most likely be overlooked, No Escape gives an all too realistic look at what might happen if the people ever decide to take action into their own hands. The Blu-ray offers up a solid picture, reference-quality audio and a smattering of supplements that might tempt some to add this to their collection.

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