The Escapist

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/06/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Enjoyable thriller with strong performances and some suspenseful sequences, though the ending is likely to provoke mixed reactions.

What's it all about?
Brian Cox plays prisoner Frank Perry, a lifer who has resigned himself to spending his last years in jail. However, when he receives word that his daughter is critically ill, Frank becomes desperate to see her one last time and plans a prison break, enlisting fellow convicts Lenny (Joseph Fiennes), Brodie (Liam Cunningham) and Viv (Seu Jorge) to help.

However, when prisoner newbie James (Dominic Cooper) attracts the unwelcome attentions of wing-king Rizza (Damian Lewis) and his vicious, drug-addicted brother Tony (Steven Mackintosh), Frank is forced to bring him along at the last minute, causing conflict within the group that threatens their escape.

The Good
Brian Cox is great as Frank and you believe both his desperation and the fact that he would inspire enough loyalty in his fellow inmates for them to accompany him on an escape attempt. There's also strong support from a scenery-chewing Steven Mackintosh (relishing being cast against type for once) and from the always-excellent Liam Cunningham as Frank's right-hand man.

In addition, Dominic Cooper is fantastic as the frightened James (his pretty-boy looks make it all too clear what kind of future jail holds for him), though Joseph Fiennes tries a little too hard as the pumped-up Lenny with occasionally laughable results.

The Bad
The structure of the script is inspired by a 19th century Ambrose Bierce short story called An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (a copy of which Frank carries everywhere) and if you've read that story, you'll know why the ending is such a disappointment. To reveal any more would be unfair, but let's just say that events don't play out quite as you'd expect, which is either deeply frustrating or a pleasant surprise, depending on how many movies you've seen.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Escapist is an enjoyable and engaging thriller with a superb performance by Brian Cox, but you might find the ending a disappointment.

Film Trailer

The Escapist
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Content updated: 10/12/2019 17:01

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