No Way Out (1987)

No Way Out (1987)

Taglines: Is it a crime of passion, or an act of treason?

Tom Farrell is a navy officer who gets posted at the Pentagon and is to report to the secretary of defense David Brice. He starts an affair with Susan Atwell not knowing that she is Brice’s mistress. When Susan is found dead, Tom is assigned to the case of finding the killer who is believed to be a KGB mole! Tom could soon become a suspect when a Polaroid negative of him was found at Susan’s place. He now has only a few hours to find the killer before the computer regenerates the photo.

No Way Out is a 1987 American political thriller drama film. It stars Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, and Sean Young. Will Patton, Howard Duff, George Dzundza, Jason Bernard, Fred Thompson and Iman appear in supporting roles.

The film is a remake of The Big Clock (1948). Both films are based on Kenneth Fearing’s 1946 novel The Big Clock. Filming locations included Baltimore, Annapolis, Arlington, Washington, D.C., and Auckland, New Zealand. The film features original music by Academy Award-winning composer Maurice Jarre.

About the Story

In a suburban safe house, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell is asked by two men about how he first met U.S. Secretary of Defense David Brice. In a flashback, Farrell is invited to an inaugural ball by his college buddy Scott Pritchard, who intends to introduce him to Brice. Pritchard, Brice’s General Counsel, hopes that Brice will transfer Farrell to the Pentagon. On meeting Farrell, Brice is unimpressed and virtually ignores him. Moments later, Farrell begins flirting with another guest, Susan Atwell. The two make love in her limousine and begin a secret relationship, even though she admits to also being involved with a married man.

No Way Out (1987)

Farrell returns to sea and rescues a crewman from being washed overboard during a storm. Brice reads a newspaper story about the rescue and orders Farrell transferred to his intelligence staff. After Susan and Farrell return from a romantic weekend, her married lover – Secretary Brice – arrives at her door. After urging a hurt and jealous Farrell to leave through the back door, Susan assures him that she will leave Brice. Brice sees a man leaving Susan’s house but cannot see that it was Farrell.

After Susan lets him in, an enraged Brice demands to know the name of her other lover, but Susan refuses and orders him to leave. Brice resists, and ultimately pushes Susan to her death over an upstairs railing. After calling Pritchard, Brice is ready to turn himself in, telling Pritchard about having been seen by Susan’s other lover.

But Pritchard suggests that if the other man was made out to be a suspected KGB sleeper agent code-named “Yuri”, then the other man’s elimination could be made a matter of National Security. Pritchard cleans Susan’s house of all evidence that Brice was there, and discovers a negative side of a Polaroid photograph Susan had taken of Farrell earlier. The negative shows a very poor, unidentifiable image of a man.

No Way Out (1987)

Unaware that Farrell was in a relationship with Susan, Brice orders him to find and arrest “Yuri” and places him in the ironic position of investigating himself. Farrell is told that the city police have not been informed, and that CID officers, commanded by Major Donovan, have been assigned to conduct the investigation. Meanwhile, to protect his concocted story, Pritchard sends two former CIA assassins to systematically eliminate everyone who knew of Brice’s affair with Susan, beginning with her girlfriends.

Attempts to enhance the photo negative begin to bear fruit due to another college friend of Farrell’s Sam Hesselman, a wheelchair-bound computer expert. Meanwhile, Farrell sets out to conclusively link Brice to Susan by searching computer files for evidence that Brice gave her a Government-registered gift from the Moroccan Foreign Minister.

Needing more time, Farrell convinces Hesselman to delay the work on the photograph. CID officers bring two witnesses to Donovan who have seen “Yuri” with Susan during their romantic weekend. They cross paths with Farrell in the Pentagon and recognize him. Farrell escapes, but the CID begins a search of the Pentagon, knowing that “Yuri” is somewhere in the building. Farrell continues to elude the search and tells Hesselman that Brice was having a relationship with Susan and killed her.

Hesselman helps him find the Moroccan gift registered in the State Department database and initiates a print-out so that Farrell will have physical evidence implicating Brice. Thinking that Farrell is delusional, Hesselman tells Pritchard about Farrell’s relationship with Susan and his belief that Brice murdered her. Pritchard thanks Hesselman and then executes him. Still trying to avoid the CID search for him within the Pentagon, Farrell returns to Hesselman’s office and seizes the registry printout. Farrell confronts Brice with this evidence and threatens to go to the police if the search for him is not called off.

After Donovan reports that Hesselman has been murdered by “Yuri”, Pritchard tells Brice that Farrell was Susan’s other lover and adds that if the man in the photo is “Yuri” then Farrell is “Yuri”. Knowing that Farrell has the registry print-out, Brice improvises a different story: Pritchard, who is homosexual, killed Susan because he was jealous of Brice’s relationship with her.

A devastated Pritchard commits suicide and is apparently revealed to be “Yuri”, concluding the search. Farrell quietly sends the registry printout to Brice’s mortal enemy, the Director of the CIA. As Farrell leaves the Pentagon, the image enhancement of the photograph positively identifies him as Susan’s other lover.

No Way Out Movie Poster (1987)

No Way Out (1987)

Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Dennis Burkley, Howard Duff, Iman, Fred Dalton Thompson, Dennis Burkley, Leon Russom
Screenplay by: Robert Garland
Production Design by: J. Dennis Washington
Cinematography by: John Alcott
Film Editing by: William Hoy, Neil Travis
Set Decoration by: Bruce A. Gibeson
Art Direction by: Anthony Brockliss
Music by: Maurice Jarre
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: August 14, 1987