No Way Out (1987)

No Way Out (1987)

1987 R 114 Minutes

Action | Drama | Thriller

Navy Lt. Tom Farrell meets a young woman, Susan Atwell , and they share a passionate fling. Farrell then finds out that his superior, Defense Secretary David Brice, is also romantically involved wi...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: The thing that's engaging about Roger Donaldson and Robert Garland's Washington-based thriller 'No Way Out,' is that it's about a character who knows he's being set up to take the fall for another, so you're rooting for him to expose the guilty parties whilst avoiding the fall.

    That's made especially compelling because the chap in question is upstanding ex-Navy officer turned government spy Tom Ferrell (Kevin Costner), and because the case in question is the murder of his lover (Sean Young) at the hands of her client and his boss Defence Secretary David Brice (Gene Hackman). There's an awful lot of tense plotting and twisty character motivations that keep you guessing about the outcome of the ordeal, particularly as Brice is underware that Ferrell is the lover that they're trying to frame as the murderer (and a Russian informant alongside) when they get him to investigate the case.

    But more than the mystery of the plot reveals, the film is well constructed because everything in it serves to test the characters on a personal level. Ferrell only finds out about her death when he's assigned to the case, he then struggles with loyalty as Brice's right-hand-man is an old schoolfriend of his, and he and his colleagues are tested all the more as the evidence inevitably begins to point towards him, whilst Brice even struggles behind closed doors with the guilt of murder and framing someone else. They're all driven by jealousy and self-preservation more than anything, and that's sold brilliantly not only by the intricacies of the script's plot, but also by the performances which are all unsurprisingly brilliant. All of that will have you rooting for Ferrell even as questions hang over his head, and keep your eyes on the screen from start to finish.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It doesn't have as much to say about the world as the best political thrillers, and it does take some time for the plot to get going whilst the characters are introduced before the murder.

    VERDICT: Not so much a political thriller as an erotic thriller in a political setting, Richard Donaldson and Robert Garland's 'No Way Out,' is a twisty, intricate web of jealousy and self-preservation.