“No Way Out” is a snow-covered thriller that follows Darby’s perilous effort to free a kidnapped boy while she is trapped in a visitor center in a blizzard. The movie offers initial fun as she makes us, along with Darby, find out who owns the van that has little Jay inside. but this fun is soon overtaken by a monotonous card game, which the film basically uses as a thousand-year-old formula to reveal the past of the characters. the film pokes fun at our supposed notion that the person in question will turn out to be the helpful one. in the film, the most dubious person is, in fact, the guilty one. in doing so, it becomes predictable and robs us of our expectations. the following betrayal game is underdeveloped, without context, and without any motivation, all of which makes “no exit” just another survival thriller, one too repetitive.
the plot of “no exit” revolves around five characters, including two couples. darby (havana rose liu), the protagonist, is an adult in her twenties who is recovering from her drug addiction. we have ed (dennis haysbert), who is a former marine, and his wife, sandi (dale dickey), who works as a maid. And finally, we have the brothers, Ash and Lars. Let’s explore these characters and their motivations to understand how they drive the movie towards the end.
darby undergoes therapy sessions in rehab due to his drug addiction. this has led her family to break all ties with her. However, when she discovers that her mother is on her deathbed, she escapes the facility and attempts to drive to the Salt Lake City hospital, where she is admitted. But fate has something else planned for her, as she has to make a long stop at a visitor center due to a heavy snow storm.
we can say that his love for jay (the girl he finds inside one of the parked vans) is the result of the emptiness he has in his heart as a result of the separation from his mother. while it can be argued that this very feeling is what should have made her indifferent towards the boy, she feels otherwise. And this is where the irony comes in. we know that darby’s mother doesn’t want her to pick her up at the hospital, which is a clear sign of her displeasure.
on the other hand, we have darby, who does everything possible to save jay, playing the role that a mother should play for her son. perhaps this nature of hers is rooted in her concern for that lonely boy who surely longs to be with her mother, something she also wants but cannot get. so, she does everything in her power to keep her safe. however, the fact that “dead end” does not show any interaction between darby and her mother does not allow us, the viewers, to connect with the feeling of loneliness that she is subject to (being separated from Darby’s family). she). We don’t know precisely why she is so estranged from her family, so even when the movie tries to mend the ties (Devon visits Darby at the end of the movie), the attempt seems futile.
rather, what seems to be the most original element of darby’s arc is when he snorts cocaine to give himself the boost he needs to escape his state of agony (he is able to take the nail out of his wrist with the hammer) and finally saving Jay, despite taking a bullet. This can easily be interpreted as a message that Darby, an addict, makes or attempts to make amends by performing a superhuman feat that results from the addiction itself. Doesn’t this question his worthiness to deserve compassion as a lonely and sick person? We can judge ourselves for saying no, but deep down, when it comes down to it, we’re inclined to think Darby won’t get over his addiction. and the very beginning of “dead end” tells us that he has been in a recovery center for at least 2 years. this emphasizes the degree of her addiction and forces us to think that something serious must have happened in her family to not only send her to rehab but also lose ties with her.
There is another suggestion. it could be that she was the least loved member of her family, which caused her to turn to drugs as a kind of outlet. we’ve seen a lot of movies where a character takes drugs because she wants to avoid the pain, which in this case is separation. This brings us back to why Darby wanted to help Little Jay. it’s because he didn’t want jay to feel the same way she did (and probably her whole life). but one thing is for sure: sobriety was never an issue.
ed and sandi
ed (dennis haysbert) is a former marine and his wife, sandi (dale dickey), is a housemaid. it’s only at the end of “no way out” that we realize how people who love each other so much and want to spend their lives together can have totally opposite mindsets. Clearly, Sandi is willing to go to any lengths to get money (and a better life with her husband, Ed), something she doesn’t want or expect.
also, sandi’s need for money is only fueled by jay, who happens to be her boss’s daughter and makes a fool of sandi all the time. rage and rage drive revenge, which takes the form of a kidnapping and ransom. She’s the one who hires Ash and Lars to kidnap Jay. perhaps randi’s character becomes more believable than darby’s. We can understand the need for money to have a family, and it’s not that hard to nod to Sandi’s desperation. her expectations of her are also dashed when she learns that ash and lars will not return jay, but will take her along with ransoming her. ed is shown as the more realistic and stronger half of the pair. it’s clear how much randi trusts her. and yet the movie kills it without letting it have any real sense of purpose. Randi is also killed right after. his deaths are pathetic and miss the mark; the reason is the same, i.e. there is not much context.
fresh and lars
The antagonists of “No Exit”, Ash and Lars, are brothers. but ash is the most motivated towards his cause. lars is lost most of the time in his own world. We don’t get to know much about these two other than the fact that they work for their adoptive father, Uncle Kenny. It is Kenny who has brought them into their current line of work, namely kidnapping children and finding better homes for them. there is a caring nature in lars that comes through at least twice; once when she yells at ash to stop pinning jay’s wrist to the ground, and twice when she yells at jay as she approaches the switchboard. she has the gun, but she doesn’t shoot. Plus, he’s the one who comes by and checks on Jay while she’s in the car. he brings food and turns on the heater in the car to keep it warm. it’s tragic that lars dies at the hands of el’s brother el’s ash. he never meant harm, and yet he had to pay the price. Ash also dies later, yes, but it doesn’t affect us. At this point, “No Exit” has turned into a gore fest full of violence, blood, and body counts.
There is another interesting angle of the film. darby, jay, ash and lars are all connected. What? well, all of them are estranged from their families in one way or another. Darby’s family disapproves. Jay has been forcibly taken from her family. and ash and lars were raised by their adoptive father (either their parents were dead or their parents had disowned them). While the film doesn’t explore any of the families, the family is a chain that binds these four together (not in their world, but for us).
explanation of the “dead end” ending: is darby with his family?
The ending of “No Way Out” reveals that the police reacted to the message Darby sent from the dead cop’s comlink. we then see her in the same rehab where we first saw her. she now she has a drawing of two girls holding hands, and the name jay is there as well. so it’s a gift from jay. so it’s clear that jay is not only with her family, but she is also in contact with darby. the drawing is a token of jay’s love for her. Also, the fact that Darby’s sister, Devon, has come to visit her is a sign that, after all this time, her family may have accepted her again. but the fact that she’s still in rehab points to two things: she’s still trying to get over her addiction and/or now she too has to learn to cope with the horror of the events she just went through. /p>
Adapted from the 2017 Taylor Adams novel, “No Way Out” is a 2022 thriller film directed by Damien Power.