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The Escapist: Movie Review

By tvnz.co.nz's Darren Bevan

Published: 12:52PM Wednesday May 27, 2009

(Warning - review contains minor spoilers)

The Escapist

Rating
7/10

Cast: Brian Cox, Liam Cunnigham, Dominic Cooper, Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Steven Macintosh

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Films about prison breaks are always likely to be compared to that TV show with the guy who has the tattoos and tries a prison break (its name escapes me).

The Escapist is one of the latest entrants to the genre - and is one of those films which will have you debating its merits and ending long after the credits have rolled.

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 - 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 - 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.

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 drama - but it's a slightly superior intelligent drama in which you'll find yourself completely engrossed by the end.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE!

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