"The Escapist" is a thriller about Frank Perry (Brian Cox), a tough lifer determined to bust out of a London penitentiary to see his terminally ill daughter before she dies. First, however, he'll have to assemble a hardcore crew, battle the brutal prison kingpin, and pull off a daring, suspenseful escape. Director Rupert Wyatt cuts back and forth between the escape in progress and the days leading up to it.
Prison films are not new, but "The Escapist" manages to make a familiar plot fresh thanks to well-written characterizations and a terrific performance by Brian Cox. The success or failure of a prison escape flick depends on whether we care about the characters, and Cox, along with Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Dominic Cooper, Steven Mackintosh, and Damian Lewis, provide solid portrayals. The twist here is that the escape plot is motivated by a man longing to see his dying child one last time. Also, the film contains a climactic secret that is unexpected and actually works. There are no bonus extras in this bare-bones Widescreen release.