No Escape

On this episode of The Nightly Chill, we look at the socio-political tinged action-thriller, No Escape.

No Escape features Owen Wilson as Jack Dwyer, an all-American father and civil engineer uprooting his family from Texas–yes, Owen Wilson in all his surfer-accented glory is supposed to be a man from Texas (oddly enough, despite his accent, Wilson actually is a man from Texas. Dallas, specifically)–and moving to an undisclosed country in South East Asia.

Not long after they arrive, the family find themselves caught in the middle of a violent political coup. Rebels begin executing tourists and thus our quartet of generic protagonists are forced to run for their lives, moving from one set piece to the next, and picking up bits of exposition that attempt to deepen the conflict playing out in the background.


No Escape, from director John Eric Dowdle, can cynically be summed up as white Americans running in fear from savage brown people. Objectively, it really doesn’t have much else to say.

The movie is shot well. The action is serviceable to the plot with few scenes feeling like filler. And the characters and their actors fulfill their roles well enough. But that’s about the extent of the movie.

It has nothing of substance to say despite its socio-political themes. Its characters are dull and flat from beginning to end, with all the conflict coming across as uneventful. Also, for a story about survival, No Escape never makes it feel like the family’s lives are ever really in danger, thus undercutting its entire premise and making the 100 minutes you spend with the movie just about as pointless as its closing scene.

Those looking for an exciting movie are bound to be left disappointed. Those looking for depth in character and story are going to be bored to tears. If the final result weren’t so unbelievably lazy, No Escape might come across as something more than a shallow analogy for American views on society and race. But as it is–shallow, pointless, and stupidly insensitive–No Escape is also a NO CHILL.

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