No Way Out

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Howard Duff

Lt. Commander Tom Farrell (Costner) is a career Navy man, whose heroic rescue of a colleague aboard a stricken ship earns him a position at the Pentagon, working for Secretary of Defense David Brice (Hackman).

At a presidential dinner he meets Susan Atwell (Young) and they begin an affair. It is only when love has blossomed that he discovers that Susan is also the mistress of his boss, Brice. When Brice discovers that Susan is seeing someone else, he flies into a jealous rage. During the ensuing struggle, Susan falls to her death.

To cover his tracks, Brice and his ‘devoted’ aide (Patton) create a cover story about a suspected KGB ‘mole’ working within the Pentagon, and appoint Farrell to head up the official hunt for the man, who Brice asserts had been the man Susan had been seeing, and who is responsible for her murder.

This, of course puts Farrell in a terrible situation – he needs to work on uncovering the ‘mole’, whilst hiding all traces of his feelings for Susan and his grief at her death. Indeed, you’d think that his situation couldn’t get any worse…

And then a damaged Polaroid negative is found by the CIA investigators in Susan’s apartment. They believe that computer enhancement will reveal the face of the KGB fugitive. Farrell knows that sooner or later, it’s his face that will be revealed on the negative!

So begins a race against time for Farrell. There is (as the title suggests) ‘no way out’ other than to expose one of the most powerful men in Washington as a murderer. Whilst the CIA get closer to Farrell, Farrell gets closer and closer to the truth about Susan’s death. And all the time in the lab, the computer enhancement of the photo gets less and less blurred…

No Way Out is a very tense thriller. I first saw this movie in 1988, whilst waiting for a flight. It’s one of those movies that slowly draws you in and then you find you have to carry on till the surprisingly effective end.

Costner is good in this, probably because he didn’t direct it and therefore his ‘artistic visions’ do not affect the action. Hackman is excellent as always and Young is her usual OK self. The highlight, however, is the very strong cast of minor actors, who combine to create a very real and very realistic backdrop to the main action.


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