No Exit

No Exit is a novel written by “Taylor Adams” and adapted into a movie in 2022 by “20th Century Studios” and “Flitcraft”. The movie is directed by Damien Power best known for his film “Killing Ground” released in 2017.


The main focus of the movie is Darby Thorne, a drug addict currently admitted to a rehab facility in hopes that she can recover and get her life back in order when during one of her meetings she receives an urgent call regarding her mother.


In hopes to get more information Darby threatens another patient to use her phone to call her sister “Devon” who might get her out of the facility so that she may see her mother before the worst-case scenario happens. Devon declines to get her out and sounds extremely unhappy to even hear from her, she claims that Darby being around would only make things worse for the family so she shouldn’t come and stay where she is.


Darby being the addict she is always has a plan in mind and can always get herself out of a sticky situation, so she steals one of the workers at the facility’s car keys and escapes the facility with a few tools. 


At this point of the film the story is trying to introduce the type of person Darby is to the audience and what I was able to pick up on in those few minutes is that she’s smart, outspoken, and can always come up with a plan in the dire of situations.


As she’s driving to see her mother at the hospital, she finds a small pack of cocaine inside the car. Looking at the pack intensely Darby passes out on the side of the road whilst in the car, next thing we are shown is a recollection of events that passed. She’s passed out in a car while her sister Devon is screaming for her to open the door, this is a memory of the day she was found almost dead and the reason for her being admitted to a rehab facility.


She wakes up to the sound of knocking on the car door only for it to be a police officer who advises her that where she currently is – is not the best place to be taking a nap as it’s snowing heavily and that travel is restricted until the snow passes. The officer advises her to go to the nearest visitors center, she can at least have a warm place to rest and wait for the snow to subside.


And this is where everything happens, one location for so many reveals and twists, had me thinking of reading the actual novel itself.


Darby arrives at the visitors center and discovers a few other cars there with her, as she enters the premises the first person she sees asks her to close the door as she’s bringing in the cold, this lady is called Sandi. She’s there with her current boyfriend and former marine “Ed” whom she’s surprised with taking him out to his favorite location.


Darby also notices another guy playing with matches to pass time with listening to music. This man is called Lars and the last person she sees is fast asleep is called Ash. Darby asks for the toilet and quickly walks towards the bathroom, there she sits with the pack of cocaine in her hand, contemplating whether to take a sniff or not.


She decides against her urges and drinks coffee instead. Ed walks back into the center talking about only getting one bar of Wi-Fi for only ten minutes which catches Darby’s interest. She goes outside searching for this bar of Wi-Fi when as she walks towards this blueish van hears sounds similar to a child, only to realize that there is a child tied up in the van.


The doors are locked so she takes a picture of the van’s number plate and tries to connect the police but unfortunately there is no network and her calls don’t go through. Ed follows her outside again seeing as she’s taken so long being outside that he figures maybe she found the right spot for a signal, Darby suspects everyone and doesn’t know who to trust so plays along and returns inside the center.


Ash wakes up hoping he wasn’t snoring and causing anyone to be unpleasant there. Ed decides to ask everyone to join in for a game of cards when Lars suggests playing the game “Bullshit” as it’s easier for everyone to play, unlike poker. Everyone agrees to play while the whole time Darby is asking simple questions to figure out who drives the van with the child inside.


What I loved about this scene with the card games is how the author approached a stranger trying to figure out who is who and what gives them away in intense situations.


Lars loses the game and throws a tantrum, not before letting it be known to Darby that she’s the one driving the van. Darby immediately runs to the bathroom to send an SMS to the police regarding the situation but still no service. She decides to take matters into her own hands and breaks the bathroom door to go outside without anyone knowing.


With the tools in hand Darby can open the passenger door and get to the girl however Lars returns to the van before Darby can untie her. Lars switches on the heater to keep the young girl warm as she seems extremely sick at the moment then remembers that he forgot to bring her snacks. So he returns inside but Ed already finds Lars suspicious behavior and recognizes when he’s lying from the cards games.


Lars returns to the van and notices footsteps outside the van from the passenger’s side and immediately suspects someone must have noticed the kid even though they left her. On the other side, Ash had noticed that Darby had been in the toilet for a while now and decides to check up on her only for her to grab him inside and disclose what she discovered.


Together they come up with a plan to distract Lars while she unties the girl but as Darby returns to the van and unties the young girl’s mouth she asks where the “men” who took her are. This surprises Darby as she thought Lars was in this alone, but only for it to be revealed that Ash and Lars are working together.


Darby leaves the girl behind again and returns to the center through the bathroom wall she broke down but before she can get out and ask for help Ash encounters her and threatens to kill her if she doesn’t play along. Ash takes her phone and sees that she attempted to send an SMS but it had failed to send. 


Ash begins to question her about her father and how he died. He then tries to imitate the position of which Darby’s father killed himself on her, replaying the moment she found her father dead and recognizing that this is the reason for Darby to start using drugs to cope with the suicide committed by her father as many children do to try and deal with loss.


This film surprised me with the amount of humility I witnessed. For Darby being a drug addict, most people would cut her short and not even give her the benefit of a doubt because she’s simply a drug addict but what Darby displayed in this film is more humility and sympathy than most sane and normal people have combined, one in a million kind of humility.


What she was willing to do and how far she was determined to go for a stranger is the very heart of this film. She never gave up hope even it’s revealed that Sandi was the nurse taking care of the kidnapped child called Jay.


It seems Sandi had talked to Lars and Ash over the internet on kidnapping the young girl as her father is a tech tycoon and would be willing to pay them a fortune for his daughter’s safe return, at least that’s what Sandi thought when in fact Lars and Ash were going to sell her to another person, they are involved in child trafficking.


Ed met an untimely death due to Sandi’s action to save herself however she doesn’t survive the night as the dynamic duo turn against her shooting her in the head next to Ed. Lars didn’t see that nail coming right in between his eyes, that was probably the most unexpectedly gruesome humorous death I’d seen from karma. If only he had two good legs, not one lol…


Though the film has less than ten people to focus on for most of the film, there’s no denying that the cast was phenomenal, I believe Havan Rose Liu was the perfect actress for this role as she did a wonderful job, never did I question her acting or skills nor the other cast. Had me wanting more and for a good movie that’s all I ask.


I hope you enjoyed the review and thanks for reading…
Director - Damien Power

"I knew that I wanted to do it as soon as I'd read the script"

During a heavy blizzard and stranded at an isolated highway rest stop in the mountains, a drug addict on her way to her mother discovers a kidnapped child hidden in a car belonging to one of the people inside.
Havana  Rose Liu
Danny Ramirez
Dennis Haysbert
Mila Harris
Dale Dickey
David Rysdahl

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