Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Way Out (1987)

Heart quenching and suspenseful ...

Often, a film is compared to "No Way Out"--it's a gold standard of political thrillers. Made in the 80's, it holds up well in its genre. Now it's on DVD (without many "extras"--just the release trailers) and that's worthwhile if you are a political thriller fan.

Gene Hackman does his usual excellent job as a power-monger Secretary of Defense. He plays it subdued with restrained violence; you know this is a man capable of nearly anything. Will Patton is stunning as the bootlicking lackey, and Costner is reasonably good as the hapless pawn (?) of the Secretary's machinations. Sean Young plays a nervy, Washington bimbo. She's annoying, but actually, that seems to be part of the character and I thought she was superbly cast. The horror of the 80's overly-ornate costuming and gaudy makeup are the only hint of the age of this film.

The story is laden with clues dropped in a seemingly meaningless way and the tension builds superbly, racheting suddenly with a surprise in the action. At the end, another surprise is delicious, especially if you picked up all the red herrings (I didn't. Maybe you will.) If you love political or espionage thrillers, this one has a great payoff. By Joanna Daneman


NO WAY OUT - HQ Trailer ( 1987 )

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