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The Escapist (2002)

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The skilled pilot Denis Hopkins lives with his pregnant wife Valerie and has a comfortable lifestyle. When the gang of criminals headed by the sadistic Ricky Barnes breaks in his seaside ... See full summary »


Gillies MacKinnon


Nick Perry



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Credited cast:
Jonny Lee Miller ... Denis Hopkins
Andy Serkis ... Ricky Barnes
Gary Lewis ... Ron
Jodhi May ... Christine
Paloma Baeza ... Valerie Hopkins
Vas Blackwood ... Vin
Philip Barantini ... Joey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barry Barnes Barry Barnes ... D.I. Simm
Michael Bates Michael Bates ... Spaz
Gerry Behan Gerry Behan ... Guard 1
Des Braiden ... Magistrate
Paul Burke ... Prison Officer
Barry Cassin Barry Cassin ... Judge
Richard Dormer ... Denis' Brief
Phelim Drew Phelim Drew ... Duty Medical Registrer


The skilled pilot Denis Hopkins lives with his pregnant wife Valerie and has a comfortable lifestyle. When the gang of criminals headed by the sadistic Ricky Barnes breaks in his seaside house, Denis offers whatever the criminals want to protect his beloved wife but the evil Ricky kills Valerie. The baby is saved, and later the murderer is arrested and sent to the maximum security prison of Sullen Voe. Denis, moved by the purpose of avenging the death of Valerie, gives the baby and his house to his sister-in-law Christine. Then Denis breaks into a police car and is arrested, but he does not reveal his true name and is called John "What" by the prisoners and guards. Denis attempts to escape, forcing his transfer to Sullen Voe. When he reaches the prison, Ricky sets up a confrontation, but things do not happen the way Denis expected. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

revenge | prison escape | See All (2) »


He can escape from anything... except his past.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 January 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bijeg osvetnika See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Denis opens the door of the airplane and bails out. In the next shot, the door is closed. See more »


Denis: If someone said to me 'look, your wife's dead, sorry and all that stuff, there's not much we can do about it but, you can visit her once a week for two hours; you can hold her hand, you can talk to her, bring her a couple of books, kiss her goodbye'... I would settle for that. I'd settle for once a month. I'd settle for once a year. I'd settle for one minute more for the rest of my life, just to see her again.
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User Reviews

Revenge-Driven Thriller
6 June 2006 | by Sweet_OpheliaSee all my reviews

Jonny Lee Miller plays Denis, a rich pilot with a pretty pregnant wife, Valerie (Paloma Baeza) whose life is turned upside down when a thief breaks into their humble home and maliciously shoots Valerie and leaves Dennis to cope with the lasting sadness of her murder. Denis is not satisfied when Valerie's killer, notorious thief Ricky Barnes (Andy Serkis), is thrown into an Alcatraz style prison for 20 years. For Denis, this sentence isn't enough; as he achingly muses, if he were given the option of visiting his wife for 2 hours once a week, a month or even once a year, that would be better than what he has now… nothing. He cannot get past his need for revenge; not even his baby girl, delivered by C-section, can coax him out of this fog. And so he devises a plan to get himself thrown into the same high-security prison as Barnes, and get his revenge.

Revenge is the central theme of this fantastic film, written by Nick Perry and directed by Gillies MacKinnon. It isn't always an edge-of-your-seat drama, more it is an intrinsic look into the creation, hungering and devouring need for revenge…. The high-stakes drama comes in the last half hour or so, when Denis's plan is tangible as he gets thrown into Barnes's prison. The film doesn't try to show that light exists at the end of the tunnel, or that every cloud has a silver lining. Denis's thirst for reprisal is depressing; he has such tunnel-vision that not even his baby girl and the hint of a fresh start can coax him out of his ebb. And the really sad thing is that as we watch Denis strive toward his realized vengeance, we as the viewer know that what comes after he succeeds is not going to be pretty… he will be left with nothing, no life, nothing to drive him, just the realization of all that he has lost. So while rooting for Denis to get payback on the evil Ricky Barnes, there is also a devastating knowledge that things will only get worse from here on in.

Johnny Lee Miller is a relatively unknown actor who never made good on his break-out performance in the film "Trainspotting"; if he is known at all, it is as Angelina Jolie's first ex-husband whom she constantly says she regrets divorcing. Miller doesn't always captivate and command the screen, but he is adequate in this lead role as a tough, driven lover whose sadness is really eating him alive. The real star in this film is the wicked Andy Serkis, best known for his role as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films and as the monkey in another Jackson film "King Kong". Surprise, surprise; Serkins can actually act sans the tight-blue lycra and CGI wires – his brilliance is measured by his loathsomeness – and trust me, it's always at breaking point!

Great little straight to video gem that would go totally unnoticed if it wasn't always on cable television.

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