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The jailbreak genre has a new white-knuckle classic: Brian Cox of Zodiac and The Bourne Supremacy stars as convict Frank Perry, a tough lifer determined to bust out of a London penitentiary to see his terminally ill daughter before she dies. But first he ll have to assemble a hardcore crew, battle the brutal prison kingpin, and pull off one of the most daring and suspenseful escapes in movie history. Joseph Flennes (Shakespeare in Love), Liam Cunningham (Hunger), Sue Jorge (City of God), Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!), Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) and Damian Lewis (Life) co-star in this intense and internationally acclaimed debut feature from co-writer/director Rupert Wyatt, featuring the exclusive song The Escapist by Coldplay.
Top Customer Reviews
The acting is exceptional and the tenor of the film is greatly enhanced by the suspenseful cinematography by Philipp Blaubach. Benjamin Wallfisch provides some haunting, almost a cappella songs that heighten the intensity of the drama by commenting on it, and in other portions his musical score is the sort that maximizes the emotional aspect of the film rather than drawing attention to the music itself. This is far more than just another prison break film. This is a polished psychological thriller that deserves wide attention. Now, where is the DVD on Amazon.com? Surely it will appear soon. Grady Harp
Prison films are not new, but "The Escapist" manages to make a familiar plot fresh thanks to well-written characterizations and a terrific performance by Brian Cox. The success or failure of a prison escape flick depends on whether we care about the characters, and Cox, along with Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Dominic Cooper, Steven Mackintosh, and Damian Lewis, provide solid portrayals. The twist here is that the escape plot is motivated by a man longing to see his dying child one last time. Also, the film contains a climactic secret that is unexpected and actually works. There are no bonus extras in this bare-bones Widescreen release.
Rupert Wyatt scored big on this, his first feature film. He nails it as both writer and director; the characters are interesting and believable, the movie looks grimly gorgeous, and his time-shifting script pays off in the end in unexpected ways. He pulls fine performances from the entire cast, with Brian Cox leading the way. The music is also first-rate, always in tune with the director's intentions and often quite moving in its own right. It is in fact a very smart film in most every way; even the title takes on great resonance as the tale plays out.
I'm surprised there aren't more reviews of this here; it's a fine film, and maybe the best prison break movie since Shawshank. Give it time and I'm guessing The Escapist will become a true cult favorite, taking its deserved place just below such genre masterpieces as Papillon, Shawshank, and the Alcatraz films.
Here's the scoop. Brian Cox is in prison. An old nasty prison at that. He gets word that his daughter has become a junkie. She's had two heart attacks and won't survive a third. He needs to escape and try to save her. He hooks up with a few of his prison mates and concocts an escape plan. So, of course, the question becomes: Will the plan work?
This is a way cool movie. They cross cut between the escape itself and various events leading up to it. Truth be told, the cross cutting and the heavy British accents left me a bit confused at times, but pretty much everything got straightened out by the end. The prison scenes depicted many of the same things seen in similar movies. Bad guys and really bad guys who will kill you if you step out of line. Prison guards who look the other way when bad stuff happens. Homosexuality and guys who procure stuff that isn't supposed to be inside a prison. These things aren't new but they're done very well here. The escape itself is good. It's clever but not sensational, so you believe it. The punchline blew me away. It made me want to see the movie again to see what hints they might have provided to lead up to the big surprise.
Brian Cox is his usual good self. Damian Lewis is great as an effeminate, brutal inmate who is pretty much the king of the hill. Joe Feinnes does a standup job as do all the other players. The production values are good but this is just an outstanding movie overall. It moves like a freight train with nary a dull moment. For my dollar it was more than worth the time I invested to watch it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First my disclaimer....I love my Brit/Irish films. Having confessed that, you have to pay close attention to this movie. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Russell S
Great movie.I Love prison /jail movies of any kind....This one is great..Some major major scenes though....You have to sit down and watch it with no interruptions to get the movie.Published on February 16, 2014 by Teddy Towe
For those who are disappointed not to see an overwhelming amount of guts, blood, gore and special effects, get over yourselves. Read morePublished on December 30, 2012 by Tsiri 2006
As a big Damian Lewis fan since my daughter introduced me to The Forsyte Saga, I bought this movie mainly to see him. And, he is phenomenally creepy in the film. Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by Reader47
Did not care for this movie at all. It was boring and not to my liking. I do like Joseph Fiennes, that's all I can say about it.Published on November 24, 2012 by Lavender
This movie was terrible. The writing was terrible and the acting was worse. Don't waste your money.I did not even get all the way through it before I turned it off.Published on June 3, 2012 by L. Catlett
Wow, what a great movie. Joseph Fiennes is sheer intensity, Dominic Cooper tugs at your heart-strings and Brian Cox is great as always. Read morePublished on May 25, 2012 by Susan A. Montgomery