Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Senseless, relentless and cruel

Owen Wilson and Lake Bell play a mom and dad fleeing Asian rebels who are portrayed as savages.
No Escape, a rank helping of violence, makes the fate of one American family the focal point of attention in an unnamed Asian country that's consumed by rebellious street violence. Owen Wilson and Lake Bell, actors who usually work in comedies, are miscast as a Mom and Dad who wind up on the run with their two daughters (Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare). Pierce Brosnan turns up as a disheveled bum who's more than he seems. Brosnan's character sounds the movie's excuse for a theme (western money interests have screwed the Third World) and performs a couple of last-minute rescues. Guess it helps to have played Bond. Absent any significant thematic thrust, the movie comes off as another example of fear-mongering in which decent Americans are threatened by hostile, uncivilized thugs. Director John Erick Dowdle, who wrote the screenplay with his brother Drew, serves up lots of punishing violence and one vertiginous sequence in which Wilson's character tosses his daughters over a chasm between two tall buildings in order to save them. Dowdle works the movie's family over, but No Escape increasingly feels like an exercise in purposeless cruelty. Early in the movie, Owen's Jack Dwyer, who has come to the country as a mid-level businessman, leaves his wife and kids at the hotel where they're being housed. He wanders the city's market in search of a newspaper. Judging by how little Jack seems to know about the country he's in, you may wonder whether he's ever bothered to read one.

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