People like a nice enclosed space for their crime thrillers, it keeps things neat, and easy to track. A vessel on the high seas? Ideal. So thought Lucy Clarke as she penned her successful thriller novel No Escape, and the makers of the new series adaptation of the same name share her opinion.
This show, due for release on Paramount + on 18th May, has a medium-rate thrill about it. The story is compelling enough, woven around intriguing themes of wandering, expulsion and betrayal, and it is nicely paced in the way it unfolds, ramping up tension distinctly yet steadily. It takes itself a little more seriously than is comfortable, but one cannot blame a psychologically charged crime piece for trying.
No Escape is, as a viewer might anticipate, a claustrophobic watch. This is done particularly well, to a nauseatingly effective degree at points. Slowly moving camera angles in the confined spaces of the boat hem the audience in with where the action is taking place – usually someone performing a sly deed or someone accusing someone of performing a sly deed (some of the happenings are a touch samey). The group’s collective separation from the world around them, their distance from home, is stark and pervades every mood.
What really lets No Escape down, though, is the steady, blank performances from almost the entire company. Protagonists Kitty (Rhianne Barreto) and Lana (Abigail Lawrie) are meant to be the best of friends, who have been through thick and thin together, but there is a distinct awkwardness between them that cannot be shaken off. The rest of the crew and assorted other characters have little more success handling their admittedly uninspiring dialogue. It becomes a slog of platitudinous lines, which is a shame given the promise of the plot. Hard luck Lucy Clarke, your novel deserved a stronger adaptation than this.
No Escape is released on Paramount+ on 18th May 2023.
Watch the trailer for No Escape here: