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No Way Out

Is it a crime of passion, or an act of treason?
No Way Out
Navy Lt. Tom Farrell meets a young woman, Susan Atwell , and they share a passionate fling. Farrell then finds out that his superior, Defense Secretary David Brice, is also romantically involved with Atwell. When the young woman turns up dead, Farrell is put in charge of the murder investigation. He begins to uncover shocking clues about the case, but when details of his encounter with Susan surface, he becomes a suspect as well.
Title No Way Out
Release Date 1987-08-14
Genres Action Drama Thriller
Production Companies Orion Pictures
Production Countries United States of America


John Chard
Counting down the hours for some self investigation. No Way Out is directed by Roger Donaldson and adapted to screenplay by Robert Garland from the novel "The Big Clock" written by Kenneth Fearing. It stars Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, George Dzundza and Howard Duff. Music is by Maurice Jarre and cinematography by John Alcott. Already filmed impressively as The Big Clock in 1948, Fearing's ingenious source material gets a shift to a Pentagon backdrop and still comes out a winner. Putting their own spin on the central story, that of a man finding he is investigating "himself" during a murder enquiry, the makers unfurl a labyrinthine plot that keeps up the suspense quota right to the very end. In true noir style, the story is crammed with double bluffs, deceit, sex and death, with the added ingredient of politico intrigue to spice things still further. Cast are led superbly by Costner and Hackman, though Young is a bit too dull an actress to really put fire into the key femme role, and Alcott makes great use of the real Washington locations to bring visual authenticity to the story's setting. Jarre's score is hokey sounding and doesn't sit right with the dramatics on show, while the big reveal at the finale is still as divisive today as it was back on the film's release, but this is still a fine example of a film noir remake that really works for the neo-noir loving crowd. 8/10
Life in DC and The Pentagon during the mid-80s RELEASED IN 1987 and directed by Roger Donaldson, "No Way Out” is a political drama/thriller starring Keven Costner as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy who falls in love with a woman of dubious morality (Sean Young) and is thrust into a cover-up/witch hunt after a tragedy. Gene Hackman plays his “boss” at the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense, while Will Patton appears as the Secretary’s loyal and diligent assistant. This remake of 1948's “The Big Clock" makes great use of Washington DC & surrounding area (e.g. Arlington) with sweet opening and closing aerial views. The Pentagon is a focal point with much of the drama taking place in that iconic building. There’s a worthy surprise in the plot so pay attention. Roger Ebert overrated this movie in 1987, giving it a perfect rating. The first half is a great setup, but the second half is merely okay and sometimes comes off as a TV production, verging on amateurish (you’ll see what I mean). The photo that the computer slowly materializes is a particularly quaint element; and the distinctly 80’s score doesn’t help. Still, there’s enough good here to make “No Way Out” worth checking out if it sounds appealing to you. Although Hackman is almost wasted in a role where he is relegated to sitting around looking concerned, Patton’s passionate work makes up for it; Costner and Young too. THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour, 54 minutes and was shot in DC, Virginia (Arlington & Alexandria), Maryland (Annapolis) and the Toronto airport. WRITERS: Kenneth Fearing (novel) and Robert Garland (screenplay). GRADE: B-/C+

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