Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell is at
A political ball and walks over to chat
With a beautiful woman, and banter advances
To kissing and loving, like many romances.
Tom learns Susan Atwell, the girl he’s gone for,
Is some politician’s well-kept paramour.
He’s also a hero when missions get hairy
And gets noticed by the Defense Secretary.
This David Brice chooses him as a close aide,
But later Tom learns that it’s Brice who has paid
For Miss Atwell’s “services,” such as they are.
Tom isn’t too pleased, but he’s loved her too far.
He takes Susan out for a lovers’ retreat
But, when she returns, who else should she meet
But Brice, who is jealous and, around twelve o’clock,
He kills her by accident, much to his shock.
He talks to Scott Pritchard, his true right-hand man,
Who quickly comes up with a devious plan.
They’ll implicate Susan’s unknown other lover
And hide Brice’s actions in one massive cover.
Scott aims all the Pentagon’s quizzical fury
At finding this man by suggesting he’s “Yuri,”
A Soviet mole they have searched for for years
And must be caught soon before he disappears.
Tom realizes soon he’s the man that they seek,
And he does all he can to not let the truth leak.
He’s given the reins of this investigation
And tries to escape this no-win situation.
It soon becomes clear Scott will use all his skill
To guard David Brice, even if he must kill.
Tom tries to prove David had also known Sue,
While slowing the quest to expose himself too.
When Scott, Brice, and Tom are together again,
There’s much finger-pointing among the three men.
But Scott is shocked when, after all of this fuss,
Brice is willing to throw Pritchard under the bus.
Scott’s plan was perfect till Tom came to foil it…
The end’s a surprise, so I won’t even spoil it.

Like WarGames, No Way Out is a grand example of Cold War tensions. By updating the plot of The Big Clock, the book (and film) on which it is based, and setting it against this backdrop of international and personal intrigue, the filmmakers created a thrilling film that rises above the sum of its parts. Kevin Costner as Tom Farrell does a decent job at appearing charming in the first half and desperate in the second half, and Gene Hackman plays a good jerk in David Brice. The stand-out is Will Patton as Scott Pritchard, who loves his boss a little too much. His soft, calculating voice ranges from a little creepy in his first scenes to completely unhinged in his last. The film also has such a wonderful Sixth Sense-style twist ending that it totally changed my view of everything that preceded. I haven’t been afraid to include spoilers in my previous posts, but this is one surprise that should not be known beforehand.

No Way Out is definitely an adult film, with some steamy love scenes and a nude bar, plus some periodic foul language and shootings, all of which only detract from the film. Without these, it is still just as tense, thrilling, and fascinating.

Best line: (as Tom is being followed by a thug into the restroom) “I would rather do this myself. You can listen if you want to.”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 7
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 6
Watchability: 6
Other: (language and nudity): -8
TOTAL: 29 out of 60

Tomorrow: #327: Cats Don’t Dance

© 2014 S. G. Liput