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4.2 out of 5 stars
17
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 18 May 2017
the tune at the end of this brill film is hevenly
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on 2 January 2013
Not a scratch in sight recieved it in 24hrs AAA+, the film was great i dont know if i would go to them lenths he does but i would give it ago!!
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on 9 October 2006
I had never heard of this film, but do like Jonny Lee Miller so purchased it and was not disappointed. It is a brilliant film, really on the edge of your seat stuff.
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What if you lost what you loved most, and legal justice wasn't enough revenge?

That's the question that spawns "The Escapist," a gritty, taut little thriller that gives a new spin to the revenge quest. No Hollywood-style love interests or high-octane chases -- just a trio of excellent actors, a solid premise, and musings on why revenge will never bring you satisfaction.

Denis (Jonny Lee Miller) has it all -- a gorgeous house, a plane, a wife he adores, and a baby on the way. But one night Ricky Barnes (Andy Serkis) breaks in, and murders Denis' wife. The baby narrowly survives, and Barnes is sent to a maximum-security prison on a remote island -- but Denis is still consumed with a need for revenge against the man who destroyed four people's lives.

So he fakes his suicide, puts a few dents in a cop car, and receives a brief sentence -- then escapes. With each escape he receives a stiffer sentence, is sent to a higher security facility, and is forced to create ever more daring escape plans. But as he approaches Ricky Barnes' prison, Denis finds himself trapped in Ricky's own plot to escape...

"The Escapist" is a welcome change from your average Hollywood thriller -- a little indie movie, with no explosions or gun battles, lots of nasty little prisons, and a main cast of only three people. It has a stripped-down, raw feeling that gives a big contrast to the polished direction.

Basically the movie tracks Denis' descent into hell, with the knowledge that no matter what happens, Denis won't have won because his wife will still be dead. Gillies MacKinnon takes us from idyllic seaside villas, grey seas and sanitary little jails to the savage side of civilization, where there's no hope and no escape. And MacKinnon knows how to surprise us with an ending that leaves you wondering what is next.

Miller gives an overall good performance as a man with nothing to lose, and only revenge to gain -- he gets over-the-top in some of the scenes, but he's brilliant when Denis is ice cold. Jodhi May gives a lovely performance as his traumatized sister-in-law, and Serkis is simply chilling as a grinning, soulless murderer with a sadistic streak as big as Panama. I swear, he's creepier than Gollum in this movie.

"The Escapist" is a revenge thriller stripped down to the bone, but it's far better than many such movies are -- especially since it never loses sight of the fact that revenge can't make you happy.
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on 18 September 2007
The Escapist did not get released, it escaped while no-one was looking. Sad because it's a really good and novel thriller. The beginning is less than great while it sets all its ducks in a row. Once that plot establishing stuff is all out of the way as Jonny Lee Miller fights his way from minimum security to maximum security prisons to get close enough the kill the creep who killed his loved one its takes off. Miller is a bit too soft to play the hardman but Andy Serkis is a grand villain, like Chopper Read in a bad mood. And hasn't Jodhi May filled out nicely now she's all grown up! Maybe more of a renter than a buyer but still a damn good thriller.
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The Escapist is one of those films that has little going for it at first sight: a constantly underachieving director and a bland leading man in yet another of that seemingly endless post-Lock, Stock stream of British crime movies. That it didn't even get a theatrical release but went straight to cable TV and DVD lowers expectations even further. Johnny Lee Miller, the blandest of the Trainspotting cast, initially looks like a bad choice for leading man, his hopeless delivery of the opening voice-over monologue boding particularly ill. The awkward stylistic devices in first ten minutes as his nice middle class guy loses his pregnant wife to Andy Serkis' escaped psychopath don't do the film many favors either, although it does help get the exposition quickly out of the way. From then on it turns into a particularly ingenious revenge thriller, with Miller's initial blandness working in his favor as he becomes increasingly convincingly unpleasant.

Rather than go the Charles Bronson/Jodie Foster route and roam the streets with a gun in search of catharsis, Miller decides instead to go right to the heart of the problem and get sent to prison, where he soon finds himself on "The Magic Roundabout" as his constant escape attempts see his 7-day sentence grow into two years as he works his way up from minimum security to the vividly realized Hellish maximum security island prison where Serkis is serving a 20-year sentence. Naturally, things don't go according to plan...

There's enough novelty in the premise and plot twists to drive the film, with Gillies McKinnon keeping things at a lean 100 minutes and drawing out an excellent supporting performance from Gary Lewis as the hardened con who befriends but never fully trust Miller. Andy Serkis is channelling Keith Allen in a particularly bad mood and doing it with élan, though Jodhi May really doesn't get much to do as his sister-in-law but act as his conscience and another potential victim in a couple of scenes. It's not a world-beater by any means, just a pleasingly efficient little thriller that deserved more attention than it got and is well worth a look if it crosses your path. Just bear with it past those awkward opening scenes.

No extras on the DVD but a decent widescreen transfer.
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on 7 August 2010
Gillies Mackinon directed Small Faces and several Trial and Retributions, so he's good with character, and especially characters under the brutal strain of crime and bereavement. Johnny Lee Miller's no stranger to such roles either, so the pair make a strong driving force behind this unexpectedly gripping drama.
Johhny's character Denis sacrifices everything, including his home, his daughter, risking all of it and possibly even his life to pursue Andy Serkis' evil Ricky into the prison system. Ricky murdered Denis' wife during a cruel home invasion, and now Denis throws himself into getting arrested under a false identity and becoming a legend as an escape artist in order to get sent to the same prison. But revenge can be a dangerous game, and Ricky is just one of many lethal obstacles Denis must overcome on his quest to hunt him down.
Johnny Lee Miller is great, convincing us that his character is utterly obsessed and surfing dangerously close to insanity in his single-minded goal, and Serkis is chillingly unbalanced. It's a script that's not afraid to try a little originality, and as a result of this, the lead actors and assured direction, it ends up as a very tense very thrilling tale.
A fantastic little-heard-of gem.
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on 19 January 2007
Have you ever pondered what you would do if you had a major injustice done to you and the person was aprehended and locked up?

Could you leave it there? Would you plan your revenge for their release date or take the moral high ground and put it down to life experience?

or...

Fantastic British film, filled with passion determination and fear - recomended to anyone with a heart beat.
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on 20 June 2013
I was lured in by the casting of Jonny-Lee Miller. I didn't hate it, but found the plot increasingly ridiculous and frustrating. I didn't think it would rate a second viewing, but gave it a shot after a month or so. The cast and quality production probably save it from being a turkey, and the plot is fast-paced and engaging. If you're looking for something a notch above though, give "Complicity" a go.
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on 3 August 2016
worse than a made for TV movie
JLM has really taken a strange career path since Trainspotting
Andy Serkis is OK, phones in his role tbh
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