This film is one of the most intimate, most effective thrillers ever. The first few minutes set the tone — subtle changes in the rhythm of what is seen, drawing you into a very up close and personal vantage point. This style, like a symphonic poem, is consistent throughout the film. The way the action and the camera move, you can feel visceral changes in breathing and heartbeat through the camera.

There is no time wasted on narrative explanation. The immense confusion and panic that engulfs the family in the story is conveyed through the visuals as the tide of the film rushes along, seemingly unstoppable. After a bomb explodes amidst a group of people, the filmmakers bring us right into the aftermath — instead of screams and sounds of anguish, everything goes silent and muffled.

The family trapped in an explosive situation in a strange land seem as though they have been together for years. Owen Wilson’s innate skill allows this intimacy and is one of those rare gifts. Without years of formal training, Wilson has the ability to transcend pretense and become the soul of his character. He has the emotional strength to open up his psyche and display raw feelings without flinching. Being a writer at heart, rather than an actor, Wilson transitions fluidly from the real to the imaginary. Lake Bell is perfectly cast as a down-to-earth Mom who at first withdraws from danger, and later transforms into a fearless hero (note that she also is a writer and director). Pierce Brosnan, one of our most memorable “James Bonds,” has become a superb character actor. He brings years of training in addition to extraordinary life experience, to his seemingly effortless, larger-than-life performance. The actresses portraying the daughters, Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare, are engaging and natural. Sahajak Boonthanakit as a Thai taxi driver nicknamed “Kenny Rogers,” lends a touch of humor.

The director, John Erick Dowdle, wrote the script with his brother Drew Dowdle. The skills of the Brothers Dowdle cover all facets of filmmaking — writer/editor/director/cinematographer/producer. To create this film shot on location in Thailand, they drew together a top-notch team. Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders composed a score that moves the emotion along in the story, simply: piano notes, drumbeats that mirror primitive responses to danger. Cinematographer Leo Hinstin establishes anticipation with excellent lighting for each scene — realistic and yet suggestive. Editor Elliot Greenberg does a fantastic job reflecting the heartbeats of the characters in the movement of the scenes.

No Escape is not about good guys and bad guys. The story is presented as a tragedy brought about by the greed of a handful of powerful unseen people who cause the deaths of many innocent civilians. It is about character transformations born of intense fear, yet the sense of hope is never overpowered by the violence. This story is actually playing out in many third world countries. It is eerily reminiscent of the true account portrayed in the documentary “Virunga” set in central Africa and nominated for a 2014 Oscar.

Kathryn Whitney Boole was drawn into the entertainment industry as a kid and never left. It has been the backdrop for many awesome adventures with crazy creative people. She now works as a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica.

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Rated R, Run time:103 Minutes

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