“No Escape” provides thrills but no heart
Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor
Director John Erick Dowdle has had a rough launching period with his directing career. Mainly sticking to the horror genre, his films such as “Quarantine” and “As Above, So Below” have had a hard time garnering critic’s attention, earning only a 58 and 26 percent on the website, Rotten Tomatoes.
With his newest action/suspense film, “No Escape” starring Owen Wilson, Dowdle makes a wholehearted attempt to capture audience’s attention with a picture that is heavy with action but consistently possesses flaws. Mainly, concerning poor character development and lack of structure to the setting.
The film begins with Owen Wilson’s character Jack Dwyer, a contractor stricken with hard times causing him to relocate his family to a new job in a developing city in Southeast Asia. During a stay in a hotel and multiple shots of the cityscape, Jack Dwyer and his young family are suddenly caught in between all out warfare with locals and police forces.
Dowdle wastes no time insuring that this movie is all about Dwyer’s family. With roughly a 20 minute intro, there are no distinguishable qualities shown by Dwyer’s family consisting of a wife and two young girls. The film creates a trace of empathy for the upcoming violence they will endure but it leaves out any sort of emotional attachment.
The action that is brought about by the riots is intermittent and intense, and waves of innocents on both sides are spared no mercy from the hail of bullets and clubs. With each scene Dwyer’s family avoids the conflict and miraculously survives near death experiences.
While “No Escape” provides plenty of suspense towards each scene, what it ultimately fails at is capturing the true meaning of a country in chaos, it displays little human element. There is no empathy shown towards locals that die by the dozens in the conflict, just scene by scene of meaningless death, half of the time caused by the family being near. The story lacks any consequences and a meaning to all of the violence.
The film lacks basic storytelling, focusing too much on the characters than the overall plot.
The destruction in the movie is a means to an end for them to survive. There is minimal work into establishing a story that doesn’t try to more than blockbuster action movie
Overall, “No Escape” provides action and suspense yet it is given at the expense of a driving story. Dowdle’s film has a narrow minded view, elaborating on very little except chase scenes.
Photo Credit: Tim Ellis