The occasional Silver Linings Playbook aside, the deterioration of De Niro’s career has been swift and brutal, the result of too many bald lunges at sizable paychecks. So it’s nice to see him underplaying rather than overacting, delivering a relaxed, sympathetic performance and matching up nicely with Anne Hathaway’s comparatively jittery character.
Practically unrecognizable with that bald pate and those blue-sky contact lenses, Depp projects ferocious intensity as real-life crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, who spent over a decade as the #2 man on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, right under some fellow named Osama bin Laden.
It’s easy to understand why this movie is getting hammered in many quarters as offensive agitprop. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that No Escape works on a gut level – I haven’t seen a more intense motion picture during all of 2015.
This new film may not quite match the intensity or excitement of Tom Cruise's newest Mission Impossible edition, but it’s nevertheless a worthwhile endeavor, with director Guy Ritchie toning down the spastic shooting style that all but destroyed his Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr.
Despite being a silent film in that no one speaks dialogue, its references span the decades, from the silent masterpiece Modern Times (when Shaun’s characters do speak, it’s in unintelligible gibberish clearly inspired by the Chaplin film) to The Silence of the Lambs.