DRAMA; 1hr 41min
STARRING: Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Seu Jorge, Dominic Cooper
Exit strategy: Cox
Maximum-security prison is a living death that some men will do anything to escape. Lifer Frank Perry (Cox) is one of them. Frank has a sharp mind and a junkie daughter he is desperate to see. His cohorts (Fiennes, Cunningham, Jorge and Cooper) have their own unhappy reasons to want out, but this slippery number from English director Rupert Wyatt is too busy being artful to go into detail.
Told in flashbacks with the breakout as the through-line, The Escapist is a downer slice of kill-or-be-killed jail life. Aside from Frank, worn to a guarded husk with only memories to sustain him, and Cooper as a running-scared new boy, the roughly sketched characters run a poor second to the tricksy plot. (What is it with a glowering Fiennes and that omnipresent hoodie? Is he making a misguided fashion statement? Or does he feel the biting British cold?) The escape itself is gruelling and chances of success seem slim. But this is a story whose means bear no relation to its end.