No Way Out (1986)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Political Thriller  |   Release Date - Aug 14, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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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.