No Way Out

No Way Out ★★★★

I was inspired to rewatch this after listening to Jamelle Bouie’s podcast, in which this movie is largely dismissed as terrible. When I was a kid I thought it was a crackerjack little thriller, so I wanted to go back and see if I had been misled by youthful naïveté. Not at all. This movie is still superb, even with all of its 80s-era imperfections. It’s clearly a critique of Reagan-era political power, and all of the principals both embody those excesses and reveal the hollowness within expertly. Costner, here in his prime, was perhaps never better. His portrayal of the protagonist hints at a deeper understanding of the unseemly parts of the system that benefits his character that is truly complex, especially in an era where Hollywood’s preferred rendering of naval officers looked like Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.” My only complaint here was that there just wasn’t as much Hackman as I would have liked.

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