Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★½

Escape from New York features some of the best and most efficient speculative fiction storytelling I’ve ever seen. The central narrative—the President and some data that can settle Cold War tensions are both being held in the ruins of Manhattan, which has been fenced off and turned into a prison—is just our window. The full extent of this world creeps in through the margins: political terrorism, the “crazies,” Snake Plissken’s past with the Brain, the Duke and his territories. It feels like each of these details is crafted precisely so that they enter our minds and make us wonder about what else might be happening in the city. I also love the film’s attention to texture—the slow tracking shots, lighting, and sound tell a story about its world as much as any of the dialogue or visuals.

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