No Way Out is another one of my favorite films. It’s a political thriller that stars Kevin Costner, Sean Young and Gene Hackman. Directed by Roger Donaldson, the movie is based on the book, The Big Clock, by Kenneth Fearing and adapted for the screen by Robert Garland. What to say first? I love this movie because it is full of suspense and intrigue along with a nice romance. This is gonna be short as I can’t really, talk-talk about this movie without ruining it. Warning: There are a few minor spoilers but none of the big ones will be discussed.
Kevin Costner stars as Lt. Commander Tom Farrell. At the start, we see him being debriefed over the events of the past six months. He’s asked to explain how he met the Secretary of Defense. It was through his college friend, Scott Pritchard (Will Patton). He meets Susan Atwell (Sean Young) at a political function and the two begin to have an affair. Susan is also the mistress of a politician, David Bryce (Gene Hackman). He likes to see her in public places. Bryce is also Farrell’s boss, the Secretary of Defense. I don’t consider it’s much of a spoiler to say that Susan ends up dead in her apartment. We know what happened to her and we know who was there.
The heart of the movie shows how the culprits plan to spin Susan’s murder into a cover-up. The plan is to search for the killer by creating a secret operation of vital importance that would be under their control. Using the “mole in the defense department” theory is supposed to make it legitimate under scrutiny. Whoever spent with the weekend with Susan is the one who killed her and that happens to be Farrell (Costner) even though he had nothing to do with her death.
Farrell knows that Susan was seeing Bryce (Hackman). He soon learns that he’s being framed for her murder and he spends the rest of the movie undermining their investigation against him by getting to the witnesses first while trying to find proof that will convince them to drop the case.
This is a… intricately plotted movie fueled by some suspenseful, tension filled, near misses, nearly caught types of scenes with Costner, who is desperately trying to stay one step ahead. He’s seen running everywhere and is seen getting out of tight situations. The search for this so-called spy is supposed to lead to Susan’s killer which with the evidence they have leads to Farrell. Everything boils down to a destroyed Polaroid picture that was found in Susan’s apartment and with the right scanning technology, it is able to reveal the face of Susan’s killer. We already know whose face it is too.
Tom doesn’t have much help and those who do try to help him end up dead. Will Patton as Scott Pritchard played the role of the loyal lap-dog very well. He was more than willing to step up to the plate when it came to protecting his boss, no matter the cost. The ending though is what gets me. It was two-fold. One was how the cover-up turned in on itself with a nasty outcome in the end. The other was that we were led to believe one thing that wasn’t supposed to be true but in fact it was (can’t say without spoiling). At any rate, I enjoyed this movie and will watch it if it’s on TV. I liked the chemistry between Costner and Sean Young. Well, I’ve always thought that Sean Young was a talented yet troubled actress. No Way Out is a great movie and remains one of my favorites after many repeated viewings. Seen this movie? Did you like it?