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No Way Out (1987)

Is it a crime of passion, or an act of treason?

Directed by:

Roger Donaldson

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Kevin Costner stars as Lt Cmdr Tom Farrell, a naval officer assigned to the Pentagon, where he reports to the office of the Secretary of Defence David Bryce (Gene Hackman). At a Washington party some time earlier, he made advances to pretty Susan Atwell (Sean Young) and the two had an affair. Now returned to Washington, they take up where they left off, and Farrell discovers that Susan is in fact Bryce’s mistress. Jealous Bryce discovers that she is having an affair but does not know who with. In a fit of rage, he hits her and she falls over a railing to her death.

When Susan is found dead, Farrell is assigned to look into finding the killer, and told that the main suspect is a KGB mole – a fiction designed to protect Bryce. Farrell’s situation becomes precarious indeed when a Polaroid negative is found at the girl’s apartment – he knows that the photo is of himself and he must find the killer within hours before a computer can finish enhancing the photo and reveal him as a suspect. As it happens, Farrell has other reasons for not wanting to be a suspect in this case.

This surprisingly effective Washington thriller has plenty of unexpected twists and turns, including an interesting surprise ending. The plot is well-told, although containing the occasional large hole, and the story is effecting and entertaining. The tension builds throughout as the evidence starts to mount up. Costner is well-suited to the role of Farrell, and Hackman makes a fine dodgy politician. Gripping, and with plenty of pace, this is an effective film that tells a good story in an interesting way.

Features appearances by former Tennessee senator Fred Dalton Thompson and international supermodel Iman.

It's Got: Plenty of thrills and an unexpected twist to its ending.

It Needs: Fewer plot holes.

DVD Extras Just a trailer with this basic single-disc release. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Conspiracy Theory, Enemy of the State, The Big Clock.

Summary

Effective thriller with plenty of twists and turns where little is as it first appears.

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