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Film / The Escapist (2008)
aka: The Escapist

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The Escapist is a Prison Break drama film set in a British prison and revolving around Frank Perry, one of the oldest inmates who has long since given up hope. When he finds out his beloved daughter has become a drug addict and is near death following an overdose, he decides he’s to break free. He formulates a plan to escape, and the twin narratives of planning the escape and the actual escape are played simultaneously.

The film was very well-received despite limited release, and it finally gives the incredible Brian Cox a starring role. The rest of the cast includes Damien Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, Liam Cunningham, Seu Jorge, and Steven Mackintosh and a minor role by the man who would become Sheamus.

The Escapist provides examples of the following:

  • The Alcatraz: A very creepy, very bizarre seemingly underground prison.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Frank is killed by Rizza for protecting Lacey; Brodie, Lenny Drake, and Viv all die horribly in the escape, but Lacey escapes safely and Frank is reunited with his daughter in the afterlife.
  • Break the Cutie: Tony eventually succeeds at this in regards to Lacey, to both parties' detriment.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: When Lacey finally snaps, he grabs a chair and starts bashing Tony with it hard enough to snap the steel legs. Frank has to grab the chair off him to prevent him from killing Tony.
  • The Convenient Store Next Door: Lenny makes use of the fact the confessional wall in the chapel abuts the laundry, and that prisoners have relatively free access to the chapel, to surreptitiously weaken the wall of the confessional so they can break through the wall into the laundry on the day of the escape.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Frank gives his life so that Lacey and the others can escape, and is reunited, presumably in heaven, with his daughter after seeing Lacey to freedom.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Tony is particularly nasty example, possibly with a side of ephebophilia.
  • Dying Dream: Although it’s debatable. Frank clearly dies, but it’s implied that the escape was real and at the very least Lacey escaped.
  • Final Speech: Frank gives one to Rizza. Rizza is quite surprised by this and none too pleased.
  • Fingore: Rizza hands a Sinister Shiv made from a melted plastic comb to one of his defaulting customers and gives him the choice of cutting off his thumb or three fingers. The jumpy con chooses his thumb.
  • Great Escape: Frank orchestrates one of these.
  • Hellhole Prison: The atmosphere is terrifying gloomy and claustrophobic, and the guards are dangerously apathetic, leaving total control of the prison to Rizza and Tony.
  • Ironic Echo: “You have one thing going for you, Frank. You’re too old to die young.”
    • "Stare at something else."
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Lacey gives one to Tony by means of a chair and a pillow.
  • Prison Rape: Threatened at, and later carried out on, Lacey, leading to him attempting suicide.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Frank delivers one to Razzi after showing up in Lacey's place:
    Imagination is what protects us. It's what keeps us alive. You're still living, but less and less. Inside, you own this place. You run things. You're the king. But look around you, what do you see? It's all pretend. It's all made up. You own nothing. Nothing except sorrows and bars and rusty metal staircases. You'll never live, because outside you don't exist. No one will remember you. No one.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: As the escapees are fleeing along The London Underground tunnel—trying to reach Charing Cross station before the tracks go live—Batista gets caught when the points switch and trap his foot. Lenny tries desperately to free him as a train bears down on them.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Frank seems not to pay his any mind, at least not until the timelines converge.
  • Sinister Shiv: Rizza hands a shiv made from a melted plastic comb to one of his defaulting customers and gives him the choice of cutting off his thumb or three fingers. The jumpy con chooses his thumb. Later, Frank hands Rizza a shiv in his cell which Rizza then uses to stab Frank when he realizes he has lost hos power over him.
  • Staircase Tumble: After being brutally beaten by Lacey, Tony staggers out of the cells and staggers along the walkway looking for help. Concussed and mostly blinded, he cannot see where he is going and falls down the stairs and breaks his neck.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Lacey. Imagine that first you’re forced to parade naked to your cell while hundreds of convicts leer at you, and then you’re stalked by the untouchable brother of the prison kingpin, and the guards actually herd you into an area to be raped by the aforementioned brother. And then imagine that after all of this you wake up in your cell later on only to find said rapist on top of you about to do it again. You then snap and and kill him and as a result become a near-catatonic suicidal mess.
  • Tunnel King: Brodie has past experience as a smuggler.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Rizza has one when he realizes he's lost his power over both Lacey and Frank, as well as losing his brother, and his whole facade as king of the prison is threatened.
  • Vorpal Pillow: After battering Tony with a chair, Lacey grabs a pillow and attempts to finish him off with it. He might have succeeded if Frank hadn't hauled him off.
  • What Are You in For?: Fully averted in that nobody asks each other what they're in for, due to having been in prison together for a while, and no one asks Lacey what he was sentenced for when he arrives.

Alternative Title(s): The Escapist