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The Escapist (2006)

Jonny Lee Miller , Andy Serkis , Gillies MacKinnon  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jonny Lee Miller, Andy Serkis, Gary Lewis, Jodhi May, Paloma Baeza
  • Directors: Gillies MacKinnon
  • Writers: Nick Perry
  • Producers: Catherine O'Flaherty, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Jolyon Symonds, Peter McAleese, William Turner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2006
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000C0Z93G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,690 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Escapist" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Denis (Jonny Lee Miller), a man whose life is shattered by a single criminal act in which his youngwife is killed in a bungled break-in attempt by a career criminal called Ricky Barnes (Andy Serkis). Denis, for whom life up to then had seemed perfect, cannot cope with his loss, and dedicates his life to tracking down the man responsible. It is a pursuit which requires him not only to be sent to jail, but to be sent to the worst - or, as the prison service would have it, the most secure - jail in Britain: Sullen Voe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Andy Serkis hits it out of the park.

The ESCAPIST was actually filmed BEFORE the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and King Kong, where he became Peter Jackson's secret weapon, bringing GOLLUM and KING KONG to life. In the ESCAPIST he plays Ricky Barnes, a ruthless, heartless, cold-blooded killer. And he plays it with unabashed anger and passion. He pours himself into this character, demonstrating his skill as an actor, and making the audience fear what is going on behind those searing eyes.

Jonny Lee Miller too does a great job portraying Denis, the man who's pregnant wife was senselessly gunned-down by Serkis' Ricky Barnes. He's no hero. He's just a man. He's not a student of fighting arts. He's just a man who's dieing inside from the madness of the death of his wife and demons from within or telling him to do whatever it takes to make sure that her death is avenged. No matter what the cost.

His baby survives the shooting and is being cared for by Christine, played by the beautiful Jodhi May, who is either a friend or his sister... not sure. But, rather than settle into life with his daughter and Christine (if she's not his sister, that is), he decides to fake his own death by crashing his plane, committing juvenille crimes in order to be incarcerated and then committing more and more acts in order to get moved into the same prison as Ricky Barnes. Which isn't easy, seeing as though Barnes is in jail for murder and Denis is in jail for bashing in a police car with a baseball bat. They don't put vandals in jail with murderers... so he's gotta work his way up.

Yet, the prison sequences in the ESCAPIST are astounding and top notch and highly realistic. Almost makes you think that Johnny Lee Miller actually DID get himself thrown in prison.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious revenge thriller February 16, 2008
Format:DVD
The Escapist is one of those films that has little going for it at first sight: a constantly underachieving director and a bland leading man in yet another of that seemingly endless post-Lock, Stock stream of British crime movies. That it didn't even get a theatrical release but went straight to cable TV and DVD lowers expectations even further. Johnny Lee Miller, the blandest of the Trainspotting cast, initially looks like a bad choice for leading man, his hopeless delivery of the opening voice-over monologue boding particularly ill. The awkward stylistic devices in first ten minutes as his nice middle class guy loses his pregnant wife to Andy Serkis' escaped psychopath don't do the film many favors either, although it does help get the exposition quickly out of the way. From then on it turns into a particularly ingenious revenge thriller, with Miller's initial blandness working in his favor as he becomes increasingly convincingly unpleasant.

Rather than go the Charles Bronson/Jodie Foster route and roam the streets with a gun in search of catharsis, Miller decides instead to go right to the heart of the problem and get sent to prison, where he soon finds himself on "The Magic Roundabout" as his constant escape attempts see his 7-day sentence grow into two years as he works his way up from minimum security to the vividly realized Hellish maximum security island prison where Serkis is serving a 20-year sentence. Naturally, things don't go according to plan...

There's enough novelty in the premise and plot twists to drive the film, with Gillies McKinnon keeping things at a lean 100 minutes and drawing out an excellent supporting performance from Gary Lewis as the hardened con who befriends but never fully trust Miller.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind June 18, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What if you lost what you loved most, and legal justice wasn't enough revenge?

That's the question that spawns "The Escapist," a gritty, taut little thriller that gives a new spin to the revenge quest. No Hollywood-style love interests or high-octane chases -- just a trio of excellent actors, a solid premise, and musings on why revenge will never bring you satisfaction.

Denis (Jonny Lee Miller) has it all -- a gorgeous house, a plane, a wife he adores, and a baby on the way. But one night Ricky Barnes (Andy Serkis) breaks in, and murders Denis' wife. The baby narrowly survives, and Barnes is sent to a maximum-security prison on a remote island -- but Denis is still consumed with a need for revenge against the man who destroyed four people's lives.

So he fakes his suicide, puts a few dents in a cop car, and receives a brief sentence -- then escapes. With each escape he receives a stiffer sentence, is sent to a higher security facility, and is forced to create ever more daring escape plans. But as he approaches Ricky Barnes' prison, Denis finds himself trapped in Ricky's own plot to escape...

"The Escapist" is a welcome change from your average Hollywood thriller -- a little indie movie, with no explosions or gun battles, lots of nasty little prisons, and a main cast of only three people. It has a stripped-down, raw feeling that gives a big contrast to the polished direction.

Basically the movie tracks Denis' descent into hell, with the knowledge that no matter what happens, Denis won't have won because his wife will still be dead. Gillies MacKinnon takes us from idyllic seaside villas, grey seas and sanitary little jails to the savage side of civilization, where there's no hope and no escape.
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