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The Pentagon was the stage for a lot of tense action in "No Way Out."
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'No Way Out'

By Matt Slovick
WashingtonPost.com Staff

This has everything you would want from a movie set Washington, D.C. It not only was filmed in and around the nation's capital, but it includes political scandal, an above-the-law political aide, a cover-up, Russians, spies, the Pentagon, the CIA, hired assassins, military officers, the defense department and a beautiful woman. You know, same-old, same-old.

The main actors are two-time Oscar winner Gene Hackman (he didn't get a nomination for this role nor did anyone else), Kevin Costner (in a film that helped push him to stardom) and Sean Young (the film should have been the one that catapulted her career, but a "wacko" label took her from the "A" list to projects like "Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde").


Washington Sites: Washington Monument; Capitol; Lincoln Memorial; Jefferson Memorial; Pentagon; CIA Headquarters; Omni Shoreham Hotel; Hay-Adams Hotel; Hotel Washington; Whitehurst Freeway; C&O Canal; Georgetown Park; The Old Post Office Pavillion; the streets of Arlington, Va.


It Wasn't Washington: During a chase scene, Costner runs up from the C&O Canal and into a Metro stop in Georgetown. That stop does not exist, it was created for the film. And the actual Metro scenes were shot in Baltimore.


Nearby Places Mentioned: Annapolis, Md.; Fort Meade, Md.


Post Reviews: From the Style and Weekend sections.


Film's Background: A remake of "The Big Clock" from 1948. The film involved the editor of a crime magazine and a reporter in New York City. That movie was loosely based on Kenneth Fearing's 1946 mystery novel by the same name.


Plot: Kevin Costner plays Tom Farrell, a Naval officer and "hero" brought to the Pentagon by Secretary of Defense David Brice (Gene Hackman) to serve as the liaison with the CIA. A Senator (Howard Duff) is high on a "phantom" submarine project; Brice wants to end it.

Costner begins seeing the beautiful Susan Atwell (Sean Young), who happens to be Brice's mistress. When Brice shows up unexpectedly at her duplex, Farrell leaves through the back door. He makes sure Brice sees a man on the dark street, but Brice cannot identify him. In a jealous fit, Brice slaps Susan, who falls over a railing to her death.

Brice seeks the help of his ruthless aide Scott Pritchard (Will Patton). Pritchard cleans up after his boss and begins the cover-up. Since they know another man was at Susan's, Pritchard says the killer is a Russian mole named Uri who has been rumored to be working in the Pentagon. Farrell is then put in charge of the investigation, knowing Brice is the true criminal and that he is the man they are looking for.


Memorable Scenes:

  • When you mention "No Way Out" to anyone who has seen the movie, their first response is "the limousine scene." Kevin Costner and Sean Young leave a posh party and take a limousine. They tell the driver to show them the monuments with no intention of sight-seeing. They make love in a sensual scene as the limo drives past the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
  • Dr. Sam Hesselman meets Pritchard in a gymnasium to discuss Farrell. After Hesselman confides in Pritchard and tells him that Farrell believes Brice killed Atwell, Pritchard pulls out a gun and kills Hesselman.
  • The final scene is surprising, but I don't want to give away the ending.


    Rating: R for nudity, profanity, violence.
    Release Date: 1987 (by Orion).
    Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes.
    Director: Roger Donaldson
    Cast: Kevin Costner (Lt. Cmdr. Tom Farrell); Gene Hackman (David Brice); Sean Young (Susan Atwell); Will Patton (Scott Pritchard); Howard Duff (Sen. Willy Duvall); George Dzundza (Dr. Sam Hesselman); Jason Bernard (Maj. Donovan); Iman (Nina Beka); Fred Dalton Thompson (Marshall); Leon Russom (Kevin O'Brien).

  • © 1996 The Washington Post Company

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