Holiday in Cambodia – No Escape (2015)

Wrong time, wrong place.  So this is about a family that relocates to **undisclosed**, Asia on business.  They never say what country it is per se, but there is one thing that is abundantly clear: this is the Fourth World.  Within a day of getting off the plane, the country revolts in a revolution, making this family need to leave their new home and get out of the country ASAP.  This was one that I was actually on the fence about; it looked like it could be decent, but there was nothing about it that screamed “see it in a theater” to me.  After a favorable review from a trusted critic got my attention, I decided to give it a shot, and I’m glad I took the time.

1One more reason not to vacation in the third world.

Now I don’t want to sell this too strongly, because this isn’t without its flaws, but this movie gave me the same exact feeling of hopeless intensity that Captain Phillips did, which is a very high compliment.  It may go without saying, but the Best Picture nominee does have a leg up on No Escape, but it’s in the same ballpark.  It’s harrowing, and once it starts, it is unrelenting, never slowing down to let you catch your breath.  It doesn’t take a long time to get rolling, either; it takes thirty minutes for the first night to wrap up, and then immediately thereafter, the revolution rears its ugly head.  It moves quickly, and you get glimpses of horrendous things happening, but it never rests the camera upon it too long because they have to keep moving for safety’s sake.  All the actors turn in good work, and Owen Wilson does a really good job of selling the danger, which is a nice change of pace from his career of playing the comedic straight man.  Also turning in a solid performance is Pierce Brosnon in a helpful and memorable supporting role.

brosnanI love how he is always playing a retired James Bond at this point in his career, regardless of his character name.

This is worthwhile, but as previously stated, it has flaws.  For one thing, it’s kind of a cheap move to not name the country; sure, you can deduce what country it probably is from context clues, and while I do understand that they did that for country relation’s sake, it’s a toothless move in an otherwise ballsy film.  Also, while all of the actors do a good job of selling it, nobody is written to have a whole lot of depth.  I know that is due to how action driven this is, but it could have added to the overall effectiveness if it had present.  Still, there is enough here for me to give this a solid recommendation.  Check it out.

No Escape ****

– Critic for Hire

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