A first full-length film as good as Rupert Wyatt's THE ESCAPIST is rare. When it' s a genre movie in one of the more difficult genres to manage -- the prison break -- his feat is even more remarkable. Boasting a cast of actors so fine, you'd probably go see them in anything, the film is fast, fractured (in enormously accomplished fashion) and so rigorously unsentimental that the tiny smile that flickers across Brian Cox's face toward the end is enough -- suddenly and at last -- to break your heart. The movie itself should lift your spirits, not so much for its content as for its stylish accomplishment.
|If I felt somehow cheated by what happens after that "until," I must admit to being completely swept away by all that came before. Not since Le Trou have I been captured as fully by any film about a prison break. Wyatt, his editor (Joe Walker), cinema-tographer (Philipp Blaubach) and production designer (Jim Furlong) have created such believable locations and then shot them and edited the footage to within an inch of its life. Consequently, we viewers have little time (or certainly little inclination) to do anything but follow headlong after this intrepid group of men.|
|The movie, though 103 minutes long, feels shorter -- which is rather the opposite of many of the films encountered these days. One of the most famous short stories in the canon of American fiction provided the inspiration for the film. To say anything more about this will give away far too much. The Escapist -- distributed via IFC Films-- opens Friday, April 3, at NYC's Village East Cinema.|