By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Forced thrills can't hide this movie's ugly xenophobia.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's xenophobic message seems to be "don't go to any foreign countries, and don't trust anyone who's not American (or white)." After the bad guys start attacking, the good guy can -- and does -- do anything to survive, without consequences.
Positive Role Models
The main characters seem like a nice family, but they're stuck in a horrible situation. and what they do to survive isn't exactly admirable.
Violence & Scariness
A woman is beaten and nearly raped (her clothes are torn). Many characters are shot, with blood splatters, bleeding wounds, and pools of blood. Children are thrown from a roof (with the intention of being caught). A man is beaten to death with a blunt object. Dead bodies are shown. Suicide. An angry mob beats people with rocks, sticks. Helicopter crash and explosion. Tank shells explode. Truck runs over people. Much of the violence occurs in front of children.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Reference to "hitting a strip joint," with joking innuendo. Scene set in what appears to be a brothel.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A few uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bastard," "goddamn."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The main character wears Nike shoes. He later trades them for something he needs.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke and drink (beer and whisky shots) in a social setting, getting playfully drunk in one scene. Opium smokers shown in passing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that No Escape is a thriller about an American family that comes under fire in an unnamed foreign country. Some viewers might be interested in it as a "turn off your brain" roller coaster ride, but its blatant xenophobia makes it difficult to recommend. Plus, there's a lot of strong violence, including a scene of a woman being beaten and nearly raped. Children are in peril, and dozens of people are shot and killed, with blood spurts, bloody wounds, and pools of blood, plus beatings and explosions. Language is infrequent but includes more than one use of "f--k" and "s--t." There's a mention of a strip joint and a scene that takes place in what appears to be a brothel. Characters smoke and drink in a social setting, with some playful drunkenness, and an opium den is briefly shown.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 12 parent reviews
Report this review
Not realistic action movie
Report this review
What's the Story?
In NO ESCAPE, struggling businessman Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) takes his family to a new country -- an unnamed Asian country, possibly Thailand -- and a new job. Things don't go well from the start: Their ride to the hotel doesn't show up, and nothing in their room seems to be working. The next day, Jack goes out for a paper and finds himself in the middle of what seems to be a revolution, with citizens attacking figures in riot gear. And it becomes apparent that Americans are also being targeted. Jack takes his wife (Lake Bell) and daughters (Claire Geare and Sterling Jerins) on a dangerous path to the American embassy. Just as hope runs out, a mysterious European (Pierce Brosnan) and a local driver (Sahajak Boonthanakit) intervene.
Is It Any Good?
It's horrifying to consider just how this movie operates, generating so-called thrills based on a blind, empty-headed fear of foreigners. Adding dumb plot twists and bad shaky-cam makes for an insultingly poor movie. Coming from the otherwise decent horror director John Erick Dowdle, No Escape is surprising in its blatant xenophobia -- some might go far as to say racism -- with evil-looking, unidentified Asians, none of whom has any honor or dignity, shooting at Americans and attempting to beat up and rape white women.
It doesn't help that the characters are stuck with bad storytelling, including unlikely logic, forced incidents, and flat-out cruelty, as when Jack decides to throw his daughters off a roof, or when he beats a potential informant to death. The unstable cinematography, meant to simulate chaos with lots of shaking, makes things worse. Brosnan's character actually has a purpose, but it's too little and too late to save this abhorrent movie.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about No Escape's violence. How did it make you feel? How was the impact affected by the fact that kid characters were there/involved?
What does "xenophobia" mean? Does this movie subscribe to that way of thinking?
Why do you think the country in which the movie takes place isn't named? How are its people depicted?
How does the movie depict smoking and drinking? What's the tone of those scenes? Are there consequences?
- In theaters: August 26, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: November 24, 2015
- Cast: Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Lake Bell
- Director: John Erick Dowdle
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 103 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence including a sexual assault, and for language
- Last updated: May 25, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Spy Movies for Kids
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate