No Escape

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
No Escape Movie Poster Image
Forced thrills can't hide this movie's ugly xenophobia.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


Reference to "hitting a strip joint," with joking innuendo. Scene set in what appears to be a brothel.


A few uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bastard," "goddamn."


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byQueenscourt October 1, 2015

Great family movie

I was on the edge of my seat both times watching this movie. It was a real thrill. I would watch it again, no problem. There is quite a bit of violence but... Continue reading
Parent Written byjenonator February 20, 2016


Amazing edge of your seat movie showing how important it is to understand the cultural and political happenenings of where you are travelling to. I think it wa... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 30, 2015

Violent Sad sick morals but in the end everything works out

Countless people in no escape are beaten with sticks and pools of blood are shown behind their head, people are shot with lots of blood spurts and spews that ar... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFilms123 August 12, 2020

Entertaining and occasionally violent thriller is too intense for tweens

No Escape isn’t xenophobic. It depicts a family going to a third world country when a civil war breaks out. Civil wars happen. Americans probably get caught up... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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