Escaping Before It’s Too Late
Release Date: April 10, 2009
Starring: Brian Cox, Liam Cunningham,
Joseph Fiennes, Dominic
Cooper, Damian Lewis, Seu
Jorge, and Steven Mackintosh
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Alan Moloney and Adrian
Writer: Rupert Wyatt and Daniel Hardy
Address Comments To:Jonathan Sehring, President. IFC Films/IFC Entertainment
Joshua Sapan, President/CEO, Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
(Independent Film Channel/IFC Films/IFC First Take/AMC/WE)
11 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 324-8500
THE ESCAPIST stars veteran actor Brian Cox as Frank Perry, a worn-down, older man in prison for life who receives his first letter after 14 years, informing him that his only daughter is close to death following a drug overdose. Driven by fatherly love and concern, he urgently sets up an escape plan so he might see her again before she dies. In order to put his plan into action, Frank recruits fellow prisoners: Lenny Drake (played by Joseph Fiennes), a fighter and intensely tenacious introvert; Brodie (played by Liam Cunningham), a gregarious Irish man who doesn’t care so much about escaping as he does about helping Frank get out; and, Viv Baptista (played by Seu Jorge), a low-profile, prison drug dealer.
The plot unfolds in flashbacks. This leaves the audience confused as to what is really going on most of the time, but the end resolves the details. Although this helps the filmmakers throw in some unforeseen twists along the way, including the surprise ending, it hurts the overall character development and cohesiveness in the storyline. For example, the filmmakers purposely chose not to give any background information on the main characters such as what they were like before prison, what crime they committed that put them in prison, etc., to make them exist in the moment. This ultimately makes it difficult for the audience to understand or empathize with the characters. However, it does fit with the artistic experience they were trying to achieve by telling the story mainly through images, sounds and facial expressions rather than through dialogue. Furthermore, the excellent character portrayals by the actors help make up for the lack of information and dialogue.
THE ESCAPIST contains a couple of redemptive elements such as the two main characters who give up their lives to help their fellow prisoners and the ambiguous Christian references by the main protagonist, Frank Perry. These redemptive elements would have been stronger had the filmmakers been clearer on the point they were trying to make by including this content. There are many instances where it is implied that Frank has faith in God, but his contradictory actions at times and the movie’s failure to give any insight or background concerning Frank’s actual beliefs leaves the audience confused. Overall, THE ESCAPIST is a fairly engrossing movie, but one that requires extreme caution due to its foul language, brutal violence, drug-use, gambling, references to homosexual perversion, and implied prison rape.
THE ESCAPIST contains a couple of redemptive, Christian elements such as two major characters give up their lives to help their fellow prisoners and the ambiguous Christian faith of the protagonist, Frank. These redemptive elements would have been stronger had the filmmakers been clearer on the point they were trying to make by including this content. The engrossing character portrayals, overall storyline, and the unique use of sounds, facial expressions, and images to create suspense and tell the story, make the movie better than the average independent film. However, the movie’s foul language, brutal violence, drug-use, gambling, and references to homosexual activity in the prison require extreme caution.