No Way Out generated lots of buzz during its 1987 theatrical release because of the steamy seduction scene that finds Kevin Costner and Sean Young grappling in the back of a limo. It is the nail-biting suspense subsequently generated by this taut thriller, though, that keeps fans coming back relish the film years later. It seems that Gene Hackman, playing the Secretary of Defense (to whom Costner's character is CIA liaison), has been carrying on a clandestine affair with Young for some time. When she turns up dead, Costner is detailed to find her murderer -- knowing that the surviving evidence could point to him. Director Roger Donaldson milks this intense situation cleverly along the way, allowing audiences a peak into the labyrinthine workings of top-secret government agencies. The script, which loosely reworks John Farrow's 1948 film noir classic The Big Clock, features more story twists in one reel than most thrillers put together, and Costner is thoroughly convincing as the loyal operative who races against time to protect his reputation...and possibly his life. Densely plotted and superbly acted, No Way Out keeps viewers riveted from the first frame to the last.
This suspense thriller lulls the viewer into a deceptive slumber for its first half but when the plot thickens it jumps to life and plays reasoanbly well. Despite mid-80s cut-rate production values, the plot is tightly woven and makes for pretty good suspense. Set in Washington, D.C., the world's conspiracy capital, this Kevin Costner vehicle relies heavily on political intrigue and a phony spy hunt, but its import is compromised by a contrived and '80s time-locked plot, a suspect cast, and dialogue that is just plain laughable in places. Costner's performance is characteristically bland and Sean Young is typically flighty, but Gene Hackman pulls off a solid supporting role. The film is almost completely devoid of subtext save a few Big Brother references. However, it benefits from a stellar build-up in suspense that nicely shatters any sense of pristine complacency, as well as the use of classic tilted framing technique just prior to the climactic scene. Additionally, Roger Donaldson's understated direction does make for a couple of very memorable scenes. Certainly, there are better films within the suspense genre but this one quite possibly paved the way for the John Grisham screen adaptations of the early-to-mid-90s and helped propel Kevin Costner into super-stardom.
|Source:||Mgm (Video & Dvd)|
|Presentation:||[Full Frame, Wide Screen]|