my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   No Way Out
Director:   Duccio Tessari
Year:   1973
Genre:   Crime
Times Seen:   2
Last Seen:   09.17.05

Other Movies Seen By This Director (1)
- The Bastard

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.17.05Alamo DowntownThis Screening is part of event: QT6
Encore Night at QT6. Thanks to AFS accidentally printing the line-up of the 80s horror marathon and the mystery midnight movie for Sexploitation Night, tonight is really the biggest unknown in the whole festival. People have been rumouring and pondering for most of the week how exactly tonight would work. Would there be polls? an applause-o-meter to decide which films get played? would it be an all-nighter? how much it would suck if it WASN'T an all-nighter, would there be new films? Would we get to see Confessions of a Young American Housewife just because Quentin hadn't? Would Nicky Katt finally wear a new t-shirt? Encore night was like The Weather for everyone waiting in line: a perfect filler for any lulls in conversation.

Speaking of waiting in line, I got there early enough to see the AICN folks walk in and straight into the theater. Thanks to Emily Hagen (a 12 year old girl who'd just gotten a state grant to make a zombie film) and her mother being in line behind me, i got an impromptu invite to check whatever it is that we watched out. Pretty sweet not having to wait in line for an hour.

So tonight was sort of off from the very beginning. The current rumor was two old films and two new, which made sense since we'd all calculated QT's timetable to make it to the Emmys the next day. Still, it would put us out of the theater at like 4:30... a horrible time as it's not early enough for breakfast but too late for a normal night's sleep (thankfully the McDonald's near my apartment has all-night drive-thru. mmm bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit). Not only that, but Quentin wasn't there to intro the first film. Instead, Lars got up and talked about No Way Out's excellent score, awesome set design, and beautiful female lead that has like 3 scenes in the entire movie. According to Lars, Quentin was off doing volunteer work for hurricane Katrina. Lars, man.. you never know... I really thought it was a joke but then everyone started clapping. Lars then said "if you have a problem with that then you are a cold-blooded motherfucker." Later on, I talked to someone who asked if he was kidding and he wouldn't say a word. In any case, No Way Out didn't get as rambunctious a response this time, but for me personally, even though i wasn't as vocal about it, I still liked it just as much. In addition to all the stuff i went on about last time, I can't believe I forgot to mention the total superman lunging knifing that Delon does at one point when he runs out of bullets. It's just this grand sweeping leap up this flight of stairs to land with a knife right into this guy's back. So badass. I also forgot to mention another death where the bullet goes through the guy to break the fishtank behind him, leaving all these goldfish wiggling around on the table... as well as another death where he shoots a guy right between the eyes and his sunglasses break apart. Man, those deaths were sweet... it was a perfect mix of hitman cool and giallo style.

There were also several little bits and pieces of foreshadowing leading up to the final shot this time around... just little things that make the facial expressions in the last scene all the more resonant and important.

Later, Eric (AKA Quint) said there was a No Way Out one-sheet on eBay but someone else was bidding on it. He said he might have to get dirty and do some last-minute sniping to get it. I would love a No Way Out poster but have no doubt that his eBay powers are greater than mine.
09.14.05Alamo DowntownThis Screening is part of event: QT6
OK, how fuckin cool is this movie? This movie is SO fucking cool... that i was COMPLETELY gut-punched by the last shot. Looking back, it's something that i should've seen coming from like, the first frame... but instead i was SO engrossed and SO with this story and its characters that the end actively made me mad. I couldn't help it, the entire audience groaned so I know they were with me too.

Elaborating without giving much away (not sure this is available anywhere anyway), Alain Delon plays my exact idea of the archetypal badass hitman. He's not all flashy bald and robotic like Yul Brenner, he's a nondescript guy with a strong jaw that's very very good at his job. In the opening scene, he performs a hit and this other guy just happens to be in the room. There's the quickest look of sympathy on Delon's face ("sorry. wrong place, wrong time, buddy") and he shoots him dead and leaves. This movie is like what if there was no Natalie Portman character in The Professional and it was all just wicked hit after wicked hit for the whole movie. It's so great.

QT mentioned that aside from being a crime film and drawing influence from other areas of Italian cinema at the time, there's also a touch of giallo in here because the action pieces are set up and revolve around the death scenes and that the deaths are performed with the coreography and outright virtuosity of a giallo, which i found not only to be absolutely true but also completely awesome. It's like how Coppola says somewhere in the Godfather commentaries that he tried to give each death a unique note, like being shot through the glasses or the rag silencing the gun catching on fire, etc. the deaths in this movie are completely badass and all of them memorable. In one scene, Delon busts in on one dude in a train car and shoots him then shoots him again and we see blood splatter up across the window as the body falls back, cracking and breaking it out. Then the top half of this dude flops out and hangs outside the train as it goes through a tunnel, slapping into marker after marker and finally crashing through some wooden supports before Tessari finally cuts away and lets the poor man die. Watching it was sort of like seeing The Matrix for the first time... there are things done here that you've sort of subliminally always wanted to see done in a movie because they just feel the most effective and unique but for some reason no one ever does them (like when Agent Smith misses Neo with a punch and punches through a concrete column instead and plaster goes flying into the camera). As another example, there's a car chase in this movie that's so utterly badass and completely unique that I am surprised it's not more famous. I don't know what kind of car it was that Delon was driving but we'll call it a beamer and he's chasing these gunmen in a Peugot... and this other car pulls out in front of the beamer and Delon's laying on his horn as the slow car takes FOREVER to pass this truck and it cuts into the slow car with this woman saying something like "geez, stop honking," completely oblivious to the fact that she's taking forever. at another point Delon skirts across a separated highway to pass another traffic hold up and smashes nearly head-on into this VW bug. the bug is TOTALLED. Normally, this would be where the chase sequence ends right? drat! they got away! Not here. In a cacophony of squeeling tires and screeching rubber, the beamer backs up and swerves around the crumpled mass of metal that used to be a VW bug and continues on. Then there's actually insert shots of the motor and gears as he shifts up and gives chase... these shots are so incredibly cool to finally see in there... and then the beamer makes a move to cut off the peugot by going off-road, so there are these shots of the beamer BLASTING through these woods, driving on a bed of leaves mind you, skating back and forth to avoid hitting trees at like 60 mph... and finally, the car chase doesn't end with a big crash or an explosion or anything like that... the gunmen just stop their car and run into a building and the beamer pulls up and stops and Delon and his buddy get out and also walk into the building. It's such a realistic way to end a car chase that is just never done. And of course, we don't even see the actual murders because we know it'll happen. Killing them is not a challenge... the challenge was getting there.

Alain Delon is pitch perfect in this movie. He's quiet, stoic, moral, pissed the hell off about his wife and kid being blown up, but also not an animal. He's got one of the best lines in the film, after someone's just come up to him with this grand scheme of helping him out or some such thing, Delon just looks at him and says "Fuck Off." Now, in print that doesn't sound too impressive, but this is the first naughty word spoken in the film and we're maybe 20 or 30 minutes into it... and it's only said a few more times through the entire movie. So the tight control of it makes it more satisfying. I guess that could be said about the entire movie. It's very tightly controlled and perfectly orchestrated. Like I said, i was completely "got" by that last shot... and there aren't even any end credits or anything. it's like the film just punches you right in the gut then stops. whew...
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