"No Way Out" question. Unboxed spoilers.

For various reasons, I just saw “No Way Out” for the first time this weekend. My amp was down, so I couldn’t rent a movie. For some reason, we get PAX with basic cable and it was on that station.

Here’s what I don’t get about it. For the sake of the cover up, why did Hackman and crony have to throw in the bit about “Russian Spy”?

Why couldn’t they have just said, “let’s find the guy she was with this weekend and pin it on her.”

Instead, they say, “let’s find the guy she was with and we can also say he’s that Russian mole we’ve heard rumors about.”

I think the movie plays just as well without the Russian spy business at all. It seemed to me like we have a perfectly good thriller: innocent man has to clear his name, but this time there’s a twist. He’s in charge of the investigation.

Nice, right? Movie plays well on that level.

But then, someone comes a long and goes, “let’s make Costner a Russian mole, and have the Hackman character make a throwaway line about there being a Russian mole.”

There was nothing throughout the movie where being Russian actually bore on the events.

Was I missing something?

It just adds another twist at the very end, when Costner is getting debriefed by his control.

Are you saying it’s crucial, or pointless?

Or somewhere in between.

I found it to be a “useless appendage”, if you will, in an otherwise taut screenplay.

IIRC, Hackman’s character was Secretary of Defense or something like that? One of the bigger bigwigs at the Pentagon, I know. So if they were going to utilize the manpower and technology of that legendary edifice, I’m guessing they needed to manufacture a pretty compelling national security reason to do so (?) The final twist being, of course, that… etc. etc. (Just because *you *traffic in unboxed spoilers doesn’t mean I gotta.) :wink:

One possibly irrelevant note:

The fine old suspense novel this flick was based on, The Big Clock, obviously did not contain this additional twist to its tale, and it remains easily as suspenseful and powerful at its climax as the Donaldson film. So perhaps you’re right in contending the film gets a little too cute.

That final scene, though. . . with Costner in the hooziewhats, talking to those so and so’s? Day-am!

Because if it wasn’t a spy hunt, it couldn’t stay within his department, it would be a criminal matter to be investigated by the DC Police or the FBI. He needed to be able to control the investigation so the investigators couldn’t point to him as a suspect.

Unnecessary, yes; but still enjoyable IMO. Without it, it’s just a nice, solid whodunit. As it is, it makes you rethink the whole thing.

Actually, I think the fact that it is unnecessary is why it’s so fun.

It also gave them the justification of killing the “Yuri” when they found him without drawing suspicion.

I like the flick. I don’t understand why it gets the negative buzz.

It did have shock value when originally distributed. I saw it at the theatre, and an audible gasp was heard when the twist was revealed. Unlike The Crying Game or The Sixth Sense, where I’d either heard or figured out the twist prior to viewing, No Way Out didn’t have a high enough profile so that people went out of their way to spoil it. And when so many movies are predictable beginning to end, I think the unpredictability is worth something, even if it is at the cost of being somewhat contrived.

If they wanted to remake this movie with today’s technology, I wonder what they would substitute for the storyline involving the photograph that is being slowly enhanced? Because it sure would go a lot quicker these days.

There’s a large number of people who, for whatever reason, slam anything Costner has anything to do with.

An encrypted file of some sort?

First off, the whole movie is told in a flashback. It actually starts in the debriefing house.
Then there are some little hints throughout the movie. At the big reception, Costner orders a Stoli and Sean Young comments: “You’re one of those.” When they’re in Manilla, the little kid steals his bag, which seems innocent enough at the time, but was clearly a drop.

Costner was a fairly good actor and the movie didn’t catch any bad buzz when it came out (this being pre-internet as we know it) though it wasn’t a very big release. It’s just that since Dances with Wolves and Waterworld, history has been re-written so that anything ever touched by him is perceived as bad.

Its a very good movie.

It just takes about 45 minutes to an hour to start the actual movie. Everything before that turns out to be critical to the investigation (the vacation, Sean Young’s friends) but it seems to be rather slow getting a move on.

But when it does…

After that movie came out, I scoured DC looking for the Georgetown Metro stop.

I saw it when it came out, and can remember being pretty surprised by the twist. I think it works very well as a tightly-plotted, effective thriller. As in “The Sixth Sense,” the twist changes the way you see everything that came before, and gives it a deeper level of meaning. You also then have clearer insight into how the Costner character’s been struggling with multiple imperatives and divided loyalties. For a late Cold War-era flick, it’s also interesting in that it shows him - a dirty Commie spy - as acting heroically (saving the sailors aboard the storm-tossed warship in the beginning of the movie).