The Escapist (2008 film)

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The Escapist
The Escapist 2008.jpg
Official poster
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Produced by Adrian Sturges
Alan Moloney
Written by Rupert Wyatt
Daniel Hardy
Starring Brian Cox
Joseph Fiennes
Liam Cunningham
Seu Jorge
Dominic Cooper
Steven Mackintosh
Damian Lewis
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematography Philipp Blaubach
Edited by Joe Walker
Distributed by Vertigo Films
IFC Films
Release dates
  • 20 June 2008 (2008-06-20) (United Kingdom)
Running time 95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
Language English
Box office $388,174[1]

The Escapist is a 2008 drama thriller starring Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Seu Jorge, Dominic Cooper, Steven Mackintosh, Stephen Farrelly and Damian Lewis. It is directed and co-written by Rupert Wyatt, and premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival to considerable acclaim. An Irish-UK co-production, the film was produced by Alan Moloney of Parallel Films and Adrian Sturges of Picture Farm.

Plot[edit]

Frank Perry (Brian Cox) is a lifer and has long accepted that he will never see the outside again. When Perry receives his first letter in fourteen years that his cherished daughter is a drug addict and near death following an overdose, he starts to think about escaping. He soon puts a plan together with help from Lenny Drake (Joseph Fiennes), Brodie (Liam Cunningham) and Viv Batista (Seu Jorge). But when Perry's new cellmate James Lacey (Dominic Cooper) gets noticed by Tony (the brother of the powerful inmate Rizza), things get more complicated and lead to Tony's death. When Perry receives the bad news that his daughter has died his plans change.

The film runs two narratives simultaneously, the preparation of the escape and the escape itself, of Perry and several others.

Ending[edit]

The film shows Perry being free at last, as he climbs towards a London Underground exit, but this is followed by a scene within the prison where he offers himself to be killed by Rizza for failing to bring Lacey to him for punishment. It turns out that the escape scenes were Perry's hallucinations while he was dying, and that he sacrificed himself to cause distraction, allowing fellow prisoners to escape.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Brian Cox as Frank Perry. A solid and phlegmatic character, he holds his own, but neither attracts nor creates any trouble. He is a lifer and has long accepted that he will never see the outside again.
  • Damian Lewis as Rizza. A ruthless convict who rules over the other inmates.
  • Joseph Fiennes as Lenny Drake. A former thief and boxer.
  • Seu Jorge as Viv Batista. The prison chemist.
  • Liam Cunningham as Brodie. Perry's right hand man and closest friend.
  • Sheamus as Two Ton. The prison's reigning bare-knuckle boxing champion.
  • Dominic Cooper as Lacey. A newly arrived prisoner and Frank's cellmate.
  • Steven Mackintosh as Tony. Brother of Rizza, drug addled and the source of much conflict.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

The role of Frank Perry was written specifically for Brian Cox.[2]

In an interview with Trevor Groth, Wyatt said "The structure of the film's plot was inspired by a well known short story written in the 19th century by Ambrose Bierce called An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."

Locations[edit]

Much of The Escapist was shot in Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol. A scene near the end is shot in the bascule chamber beneath Tower Bridge in London; it is exactly the same location where Wyatt's brother-in-law Boris Starling set the climax of his 2006 novel Visibility. The Kingsway tramway subway also features in the film.

Music[edit]

The film features Leonard Cohen's version of "The Partisan" and British band Coldplay who wrote an eponymous song for the film which features on the end credits and on their bestselling album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends as a hidden track.[3]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received a rating of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 44 reviews. The consensus: "A tense, smart prison break movie, The Escapist is a sharp debut from director Rupert Wyatt".[4]

Box office[edit]

The North American box office total for the film was $13,439 with an additional $374,735 internationally for a worldwide total of $388,174.[1]

Awards[edit]

Wins[edit]

Nominations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]