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'No Escape' Review: Political Violence as Tourism

By Alexander Joenks | Film | August 28, 2015 |

By Alexander Joenks | Film | August 28, 2015 |

No Escape is a terrible, bullshit, idiotic bit of blind western-centric exploitative crap. Don’t see it.

The basic premise is that a rich white couple moves to a south-east Asian country for an ill-defined job that fits right in that movie cliche of making a ton of money and having no apparent obligations, purpose, or you know, work. Naturally, they find the country charming and the poverty equal parts nobly endearing and there-but-for-the-grace-of-American-Jesus-go-we. Until a coup happens and then it ain’t safe for Americans and every non-white in the movie is a faceless potential murderer. They have to get to the embassy or they’ll die. Pierce Brosnan helps them because he should fire his agent.

Fuck this movie. Fuck everything about it.

They don’t even bother paying enough attention to detail that the police riot shields have their Khmer writing right side up. I mean, it’s not like anyone seeing the movie would know the difference, so who gives a shit, just squiggle some cut and pasted junk on there and let’s go.

They don’t bother giving any reason a coup is happening, or not happening, or why sudden fighting is happening at all. Because mass murder and political revolution is just one of those things that’s always happening in those countries, right?

They don’t bother even having any non-white characters with names. Because who can even tell them apart anyway, right?

They don’t bother showing the impact of the coup on people who actually live in the country. Its sole defining property is that the anonymous “rebels” are summarily executing all foreigners. Really? Their entire political platform is to kill Americans? Oh wait, it’s just the sole part of their political platform that the writers gave a shit about, because who gives a shit what happens to the foreigners anyway? Did Fox News get a co-writing credit on this?

They don’t even bother naming the country.

Think about that for a second, and what it implies for how little respect anyone involved in this production actually had for the subject matter.

They don’t even name the fucking country.

But see, you can dig a little and find such interesting nuggets. The movie was filmed in Thailand in late 2013. Says co-writer Drew Dowdle: “We worked very closely with the Thai government and there were a lot of things they wanted us to shy away from….So although the film shows a coup breaking out in a South-east Asian city,…it never specified the country. We were very careful not to make it Thailand in the movie, so there was no Thai language used”.

Wow that was so considerate of you. Know what was happening in late 2013 in Thailand when you made that deal Drew ol’ buddy? Hundreds of thousands of Thai protesters were flooding their capital trying to force out an authoritarian regime. You know, the regime that you cut a deal with?

So to be clear, you went into a country experiencing massive pro-democracy protests taking over the capital and used it as the back drop for a story of violent anti-American protesters seizing a capital. And did so with the eager cooperation of the authoritarian regime ruling the country. Oh yeah, score one for the triumph of art you Quisling cunt.

This film is the worst kind of cultural appropriation. It takes horror and suffering in other places, makes all of the people there anonymous and nameless and uses it as a backdrop for Americans trying to get back to the suburbs. The sheer lack of empathy required to take the agony of others and then just use it as a backdrop for someone else’s story is staggering. It’s just political violence as tourism.