I love jail movies. I don't know why, but it is a sub-genre that I really enjoy. I can watch almost any prison movie and be entertained, but the ones that I like the most are the breakin' out kind. Like a good heist movie, a breakin' out of jail movie offers a lot of thrills in one package. While The Escapist isn't one of the best I have seen, it is a pretty good movie.
The movie star Brian Cox, one of the best charcter actors working today, as a man who has been in prison for at least fourteen years (they never specify how many years he has been in there, but it they do say things like "nine years ago this happened"). He really misses his daughter and constantly writes to her, but his letters keep coming back "return to sender." One day he gets a letter telling him that his daughter has become a junkie and may not be long for this world. So naturally, he decides to break out of prison to see her before she ends up becoming another dead junkie.
He recruits the usual suspects that are needed to break out of jail. He gets a thief who is really good at picking locks. He gets a man who use to work around the prison, so he knows the layout. He gets a chemist who makes drugs for the inmates because he is threatened with exposure of his plan. The man who threatens to expose his plan is a junkie so you know what the trade off is.
All of this comes together in a plan that is really complicated. They plan on going through the chapel, which is connected to the shower. From there they will go down to the laundry room where they will go through one of the dryers to the ventilation system. This will take them to the sewer system, which takes them to the subway, and then they are home free.
There is a lot going on in this movie, besides the escape, which is told in a series of "flash forwards". I was not a big fan of this structure, but here it works. Well, that is, for the most part. There is a twist ending that no one can see coming and it really didn't win me over. There is no need for a twist. It would have been a lot better if the filmmakers had taken the twist out.
The twist ending is really just a minor complaint because the rest of the movie is pretty good. I really enjoyed the twists and turns the movie takes you through and I was very happy that the movie wasn't over directed. The performances on are all top notch and, while the score isn't the best, it suits the material very well.
If you are a Brian Cox fan then you owe it to yourself to see this movie.