How does this movie ending matter ?

I just watched No Way Out after a lot of people listed it in another thread as a movie with an unexpected ending.

I was caught by surprise too. But I don’t see how the ending matters.


we find out in the end that Costner is a russian mole.

What I don’t get is

  1. how did Costner as a mole know he would land a sensitive job in the Pentagon, thus actually being useful as a mole ? He gets the job simply because he saves someone while at sea during a storm. Surely, that’s not planning on his part.

  2. how does it make a difference to the story ?

Consider the following 2 scenarios

a) Costner is NOT ‘Yuri’. He still wants to stall the photo processing and not draw attention to himself. Since, according to Sec Brice’s plan, he’ll be branded as ‘Yuri’.

b) Costner is ‘Yuri’. Same reason as above, but substitute “branded” with “revealed”.

  1. I’m assuming he befriended Sean Young so he could learn secrets that Hackman would blurt out to her with his guard down. Why, then did he make a scene when Brice was coming over ? Why, also allow himself to be seen by Brice while leaving, since if his cover is blown, there’s no point to continue to be with Young ?

I always assumed that he was groomed and prepared for a role of obtaining secrets regarding U.S. Navy vessels and operations as an officer, and the heroic rescue was actually performed in the line of duty. Since that rescue led to the politically convenient Pentagon job, his Russian handlers altered his mission accordingly.

I seem to recall that he didn’t even know that Sean Young’s other suitor was Brice. So he wasn’t involved with her as an espionage maneuver, and the encounter was by chance. It’s important to the story because whoever is in the photograph will be held accountable for Sean’s murder. Costner avoiding Yurification was just simple self-preservation, and the ironic ending was independent of his almost being framed as Sean’s killer.

Unlikely. In the last scene, Costner tells his Russian superior, words to the effect :

You told me to become her lover, so I did.

To this end, he shows at the party (?) where he’s introduced to Hackman. He, presumably, also knows, that Young is going to be there. And thus takes the initiative to meet her (lighting her cigarette, unasked).

Exactly. It didn’t matter if he was actually Yuri. Although, the movie wouldn’t have occured otherwise. Since, he wouldn’t have been Young’s lover, Hackman would never get jealous and thus never kill her.

Another thing, it was Hackman’s idea to pin the murder on ‘Yuri’. This is a chance event. To justify this, the whole movie could have been worked better if it was revealed to the audience that Costner = Yuri with an alternate twist ending.

That’s my point. How does the revelation matter ?

Hmm, I don’t recall that line, in which case I take back the earlier assertion. Maybe he was being set up to get close to Sean Young, for some future spy endeavor to take advantage of his new hero status?

As regards the party, I thought he was invited because of his heroics at sea, and the Will Patton character of Brice’s general counsel introduces him and recommends him for the new position out of political expediency. “We need a hero,” or something like that.

I also thought that Brice wanted to put the murder on Yuri, as some sort of jealous revenge for that person’s alienation of Sean’s affection.

I suppose it doesn’t. If Kevin were framed as Yuri, it would be ironic because he really was a Russian mole, even if not the Yuri being framed in Brice’s conspiracy.

Well, Patton recommends him. He goes to sea. Saves colleague. Newspaper article about that incident is read by Hackman, who then asks Patton to recall him and give him a job.

No. Hackman didn’t want police/FBI to investigate. He needs a pretense to keep investigation internal to the DoD’s CID division. So, he happens to choose the ‘Yuri’ angle, since that could be construed as “important to national security”.

Guess it’s been too long since I’ve seen it, to be of much help.