No Way Out (1987)

by Tom Ingram

Genre Political; Thriller
People Kevin Costner; Sean Young; Gene Hackman; Will Patton; George Dzundza; Maurice Jarre m.; Roger Donaldson; Kenneth Fearing w.; Howard Duff; Jason Bernard; Fred Dalton Thompson; Iman; Brad Pitt
/10 5

The US Secretary of Defense (Hackman) accidentally kills his mistress (Young) and, on the advice of his chief advisor (Patton), orders a search for a Soviet mole to simultaneously cover up his involvement and pin the death on the only witness. This is complicated by the fact that the Navy commander in charge of the search (Costner) is that witness. Based on the novel The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing.

The most striking thing through the first half-hour of this movie is how dated and directionless it is. It’s nothing more than a collage of loosely related scenes with interludes of Kevin Costner and Sean Young getting naked to porno music by Maurice Jarre. Is this what sexy looked like in the 1980s? Then the film actually gets going and it just becomes stupid. And it continues to be stupid right till the end, when there’s a gratuitous twist that should in theory be as effective as the Keyser Soze reveal, but in practice isn’t. Because it’s stupid, you see.

Costner is wooden and slightly funny-looking. Young has very little to do until she dies. Patton is meant to be a creepy gay guy obsessing over his boss, which may slightly freak out anyone born on this side of 1987. Hackman comes out on top: even playing a sleazy, irresponsible, abusive bastard, he’s still more likeable than Kevin Costner.

1h54m; 1987; Colour