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“No Exit” (2022) Review: The Good and The Bad

An amateur film review writer who likes pretty much every film genre.

No Exit had an interesting premise with a good cast of actors, but ultimately failed in its execution.

Directed by Damien Power and written by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari. No Exit is a film based on a novel of the same name by the author Taylor Adams.

The story is about a young woman, Darby (Havana Rose Liu), who breaks out of rehab to visit her sick mother. However, due to a blizzard, she ends up stuck at a mountain rest stop with a group of people. Things take a turn for the worse when she discovers a kidnapped child in a van belonging to one of the people inside. Now, she must find out who the kidnapper is and save the child.

Let's talk what work and what does not work with this movie.

The Bad

1. Wasted Side Characters

No Exit boasted a small number of supporting actors who did excellent jobs. All the cast, including Dennis Haysbert, Danny Ramirez, Dale Dickey, David Rysdahl, Benedict Wall, and Mila Harris, did a good job considering how little material was handed out to them to work on.

And that is the problem. Most of the side characters were not given enough depth for the audience to be interested in them. It’s not like the movie didn’t say anything about them. But it was just done in a haphazard way that left more frustration than satisfaction.

2. Poor Execution of a Solid Story

Here’s another frustration with the movie: The way the story was executed was just downright poor. The set up was interesting (which we will go into later) and set in motion the movie to be this psychological, mystery, thriller.

Then the story tries to subvert expectations and change the genre into something completely different. Some might say it works, but it just doesn't work for this. Hats off to the writers for trying to be different, but they should have stay with what they initially set up.

Ed (Denis Haysbert) & Sandi (Dale Dickey) in No Exit

Ed (Denis Haysbert) & Sandi (Dale Dickey) in No Exit

3. Darby’s Abandoned Backstory

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Putting aside the wasted side characters and poor execution, one of the good parts of the movie, Darby, is also ironically, related to the bad part. During the first act, Darby's dark and tragic past was shown to us in one flashback scene.

And that's it. There was no continuation scene of the fallout of her past actions. There was nothing. Which is a shame because there was a strong emotional core in that one flashback scene. All that remains for the audience to speculate on is what happened to lead to her current predicament, which is nowhere near good enough.

Havana Rose Liu as Darby

Havana Rose Liu as Darby

The Good

1. Havana Rose Liu Leading Performance

Now, despite her dropped backstory, Darby as a character is excellent. Especially when portrayed by Havana Rose Liu, as she did her best to bring the character to life.

She is not perfect. She made mistakes in the past and she live to face the consequences. However, Darby is also the type that doesn't run away from a person facing difficulties.

The strength and weakness of her character is why watching her interesting, which was augmented by Havana’s stellar performance. Just look at it this way: once you are done with the movie, you will want to see more of Havana’s past and future work.



2. Strong Set-up

This is frustrating. If only the movie didn’t have a solid set up, but it had one and the result is this movie. The story starts slow, but that is needed. A story that revolves around one setting requires us to learn about the character and the setting of the movie. And the slow start allows us to receive this.

We learn about the lead character and the reason behind her action. Then, we learn of the obstacles she had to go through to complete her story. Ultimately, the conflict was revealed, and everything from that point on just went downhill.

Final Opinion

No Exit had the potential to be a good movie with its premise and the brilliant on-screen talent. However, poor script writing causes the downfall of the movie. 6/10.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Fadhli Dzil

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