52 user 62 critic

The Escapist (2008)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 20 June 2008 (UK)
1:38 | Trailer

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Frank Perry is an institutionalized convict fourteen years into a life sentence without parole. When his estranged daughter falls ill, he is determined to make peace with her before it's ... See full summary »


2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jumpy Con
Vinnie McCabe ...
Sam (as Vincent McCabe)
Frank O'Sullivan ...
Two Ton (as Sheamus O'Shaunessy)
Domhnall O'Donoghue ...
George Seremba ...
Eleanor McLynn ...
Frank's Daughter


Frank Perry is an institutionalized convict fourteen years into a life sentence without parole. When his estranged daughter falls ill, he is determined to make peace with her before it's too late. He develops an ingenious escape plan, and recruits a dysfunctional band of escapists - misfits with unique skills required for their daring plan and united by desire to escape their hell hole of an existence. Much of the action takes place within the tunnels, sewers and underground rivers of subterranean London. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


5 Men. 4 Walls. 1 Plan.


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

20 June 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El escapista  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,075, 5 April 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,023, 19 April 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The role of Frank Perry was written specifically for Brian Cox by director Rupert Wyatt, who had worked with Cox before and wanted to work with him again. When Cox refused a supporting role in a movie Wyatt offered him and challenged him to write him a good leading role, Wyatt did exactly that. See more »


During the scene in which Perry receives a half-kilogram of cat (methcathinone) from Batista, his cell-mate (Lacey) is shown lying on the top bunk with his head on the pillow. In the following scene, as Perry turns to sit on the lower bunk, Lacey is now leaning with his back to the wall. See more »


Viv Batista: If Tony knows, then Tony knows. He's the devil on your back now. But if you want to trade, I give a trade. Ket's a dangerous drug, but deadly when poisoned... you got me? If it looks, smells and tastes like Ket, Pssshoo!... who will know?
Frank Perry: No one touches Tony. Rizza...
Viv Batista: Rizza? Who is going to tell Rizza? Junkies die every day.
See more »


Remade as The Escapist See more »


The Partisan
Performed by Leonard Cohen, 1969
Written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier, 1943
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User Reviews

Surprising and suspenseful
16 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

As one reviewer said, this is an existential puzzle box of a movie, the true meaning of the title being revealed at the very end. It's not just about escaping from a prison, nor is it a pretentious metaphor. Its just very very well made.

I appreciate some similarities with Shawshank Redemption for obvious reasons, but really this film stands up on its own rights. The reasons for escaping are wholly different - SR was to right a wrong while here it is familial breakdown and taking responsibility for ones own actions. Brian Cox's character, and the rest, are believable and fleshed out enough to engage with but the real achievement here is in the pacing and structuring of the plot.

The film cuts between the actual escape itself and the events and planning leading up to the escape. Dominoes, diamonds, and of course, drugs all play a part in the set-up of the escape, which plays out with breathless excitement. The grim presentation of the prison, Damien Lewis' character in particular, appears shockingly believable. Prisons are not ruled in the way they should be, and a character like his, having a grip over the institution rather than the other way round, seems sadly truthful. He is very scary...

The end, like Shawshank, is uplifting in a downbeat kinda way. It reminded me of The Descent, which i hope is not a great spoiler for people. I almost cried but actually you're left feeling quite happy for the central character. There is not the same redemption as SR, which is a good thing, so don't go in expecting happy endings, or heaven forbid, Prison Break The Movie. For that it is not, though its existence probably owes something to the success of that over-running TV show, and the ingenious escape route is one Michael Schofield would be proud of. But really, this is a great little indie movie which came and went at the cinema very quickly, but will no doubt find an audience in the years to come.

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