Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

No Way Out (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

No Way Out (1987)

In Roger Donaldson's suspenseful, twisting political thriller (an update of the 1946 Kenneth Fearing potboiler The Big Clock, originally adapted for the big screen as The Big Clock (1948) and starring Ray Milland):

  • the hot and passionate love affair between Pentagon naval attache Lt. Commander Tom Farrell (Kevin Costner) and the Defense Secretary David Brice's (Gene Hackman) mistress Susan Atwell (Sean Young); he met her wearing a low-cut evening gown at a Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington DC, and after some small talk, suggested: "Let's get outta here"; she replied: "My date's not gonna like that very much" to which he replied: "But, what the hell? His wife'll be delighted"; Farrell seduced her into having sexual intercourse with him in the back seat of a moving stretch limousine (chauffeured by an inquisitive driver named Bill) on the way to a Georgetown apartment; He kissed her, unzipped her dress to reveal a black bra, touched her breast's nipple with two fingers, and then pulled off her dress; she offered him her panties; from the car, a phallic-related view of the erect and tall Washington Monument passed by; he then unfastened her lacy garter straps as she reached to help undress him before having sex; post-coitus, he introduced himself: "My name's Tom," and she replied: "I'm Susan"; at her party girl friend Nina Beka's (Iman) apartment door, she stood naked after removing her fur coat as she waved goodbye, laughed, and borrowed Nina's apartment's bed for the evening: "We need your bed"
Sex in the Back of a Chauffeured Limousine
with Susan Atwell (Sean Young)
  • the scene of Brice's accidental murder of Atwell who fell from her second floor balcony; Farrell was gathering intelligence from Atwell (since she was also the mistress of Secretary of Defense David Brice) when she shockingly turned up dead; the murder was committed during a jealous rage by the suspicious Brice who brutally slapped Susan Atwell when questioning her about another lover ("Who were you with this weekend?" to which she replied: "Why worry? There's plenty left"); when Brice struck her after she called him a "pig," she toppled backwards from her upstairs balcony onto a glass dining room table on the first floor
Susan Atwell's Accidental Murder
  • to cover up, Brice then assigned Farrell with "direct orders" to investigate and discover Atwell's lover and supposed DC murderer (a fictional and rumored KGB spy named 'Yuri' who was seen leaving Atwell's house) -- himself!; Brice's own scheming, ruthless yet loyal aide General Counsel Scott Pritchard (Will Patton) described the scandalous problem to Farrell: "Do you realize the magnitude of the scandal? The Secretary of Defense and a Soviet agent sharing the favors of a murdered whore"
  • Farrell furiously raced against time to find blame elsewhere during an investigation that might have falsely implicated him as Atwell's killer, and exposed his real identity; he only had a few hours to name the killer before a Polaroid negative found at Atwell's place could place him there and make him a suspect; Farrell successfully exposed Brice as the actual killer (he proved Brice's involvement with a computer printout, showing a government-registered gift of a 'gold jewelry box' given by Brice to Atwell)
  • in one of the last startling scenes in the Secretary's office, Pritchard wanted to pin the murder on Farrell, coincidentally deducing that Farrell was Yuri!: "Tom is the man who saw you at Susan's. He's known about you all along, isn't that right? Do you know what that means, David? If Commander Farrell is the man who was with Miss Atwell, then Commander Farrell is the man who killed Miss Atwell. And we know that the man who killed Miss Atwell is Yuri. Therefore, Commander Farrell IS Yuri, quod erat demonstrandum"; feeling threatened, Pritchard - with his gun at Farrell's throat - then boldy asserted: "You have no idea what men of power can do"
  • then, when Pritchard's superior Brice shifted the blame from himself to make Pritchard the fall guy in the murder of Atwell, Pritchard committed suicide (he shot himself in the head) in their presence (Brice was planning to claim that Pritchard was "fiercely jealous" of his relationship with Susan, and therefore killed her)
  • the devious trick-surprise ending revealed Farrell's true loyalty (to the KGB) as the fabled, never-seen mole/spy 'Yuri' - Farrell, while innocent of murdering high-class mistress-escort Susan Atwell, was really a KGB sleeper agent who had infiltrated the Pentagon; the entire film, revealed at the end, was told as a flashback during Farrell's debriefing at a safehouse with his Soviet superiors who had commissioned him to seduce Atwell in order to blackmail Brice; his bosses criticized Farrell for his "poorly-handled" relationship with Atwell. Farrell argued back: "I did what I was told! You wanted me to be her lover. I was her lover." A Soviet official spoke to Farrell (Russian name: Yevgeny Alexeyevich) - in Russian, seen in English subtitles: "Couldn't you have managed this better?" Farrell was told that it wasn't possible for him to remain in the US, and that he must return to Russia: "This bizarre incident has given them their 'Yuri.'"; but Farrell was reluctant: "I came here. I thought I owed you that. But you can't make me go back." After telling them that he was ready to quit being "Yuri," Farrell was allowed to leave, although one of the officials stated that he would be back: "Let him go. He will return. Where else does he have to go?"
  • the film concluded with a claustrophobic spy satellite-view of Farrell/Yuri getting into his car and driving off

Farrell (Kevin Costner) Assigned to Investigate Susan Atwell's Lover and Supposed DC Murderer Yuri - Himself!

Pritchard's (Will Patton) Suicide

Reveal in Ending: Lt. Cmdr. Farrell (aka Yuri) with Soviet Officials

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