Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Escapist: DVD Review

The Escapist: DVD Review

The Escapist
Released by Vendetta Films
Rating: M

Cast: Brian Cox, Liam Cunnigham, Dominic Cooper, Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Steven Macintosh
The Escapist is one of the latest entrants to the prison break genre - and is one of those films which will have you debating long after the credits have rolled.
Even if you saw it in the cinema, you'll still be looking for the clues to help piece together the puzzle.
Brian Cox is Frank, a lifer, who, on hearing his only daughter is ill after a drugs overdose, decides now is the time to get out. But he can't do it on his own - so he pulls together a gang of associates (a small trusted group) to help him pull off his own prison break. And just when it looks like it's about to come together, the plan could unravel any moment thanks to the arrival of Frank's new cellmate (Dominic Cooper) who inadvertently picks up the attention of one of the meanest inmates.
The Escapist is a pretty gripping piece of cinema - thanks 100% to its lead. Cox is compelling as Frank,a weary man who's determined to serve out his sentence but whose desire to leave is all too real once he realizes the danger his daughter is in. Scenes involving his character towards the end are just heartbreaking and gut wrenching and Cox conveys more of that because of the lines on his face than any piece of dialogue could ever manage.
There are some great character turns in this film - Band of Brothers fave Damian Lewis is brilliant as Rizza - rumour has it he wore women's underwear to perfect the walk Rizza has; Steven Macintosh is just creepy as Tony who menaces Dominic Cooper's James Lacey. Director Rupert Wyatt does a sterling job - you see (spoiler) the break out intercut with scenes from the prison and it takes a little time to piece together the chronology of events.
The soundtrack is a little much at times - the music is perfect, but somehow in the final mix, someone cranked it up to 11 and it's a little piercing during certain key scenes - even if it does get the adrenaline pumping.
The Escapist ultimately may be viewed by some as just another prison flick but as far as I'm concerned it's a slightly superior intelligent drama which you'll find yourself completely engrossed in by the end.

Extras: A Making of the Escapist Behind the Scenes featurette, Story Board Comparison, Audio Commentary and Original Theatrical Trailer make a reasonable package for a good film

Rating: 8/10

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