There’s a curious decision made in the script for The Way Out that makes it a worthy addition to your Friday night catalog of probable watches. This is an indie thriller that doesn’t need to be as graphic as it is. It’s steamy to say the least, and its buildup is surprisingly passive when it comes to revealing the truth about characters. We know there’s a toxic relationship taking place, but “violence” only seems to be an additive to the experiments carried out by new couples trying to make their bond stronger.
But things take a turn for the worse. I know it’s predictable and I know it’s not surprising when Shane becomes a monster, but considering the tone of the film, it’s a nice shift that makes the third act much more engaging. Yes, you will think before taking that first step again when meeting the potential love of your life.
However, nothing is ideal in The Way Out. Alex must deal with the death of his father, who’s been horribly killed in what appears to be a “breaking and entering” episode gone bad. He’s dealing with a past of substance abuse, and his love life isn’t successful. Everything points towards failure.
It’s only until Alex decides to rent a room that he meets someone who will change his life. At first, Shane appears to heal Alex’s self-esteem as they madly fall for each other. However, Alex becomes a little too dependent on Shane who uses this to his power, a monstrous one. Perhaps, he isn’t the ideal boyfriend he seemed to be.
The Way Out wouldn’t work without the presence of a dedicated performance like the one given by Jonny Beauchamp, a relatively unknown Puerto Rican actor that you’ve probably seen on TV. In the feature Beauchamp plays a broken soul with a notorious self-disregard that places him very low in a scale of social performance. There’s trauma, there’s the marks of substance abuse, and there’s the incapacity of overcoming whatever obstacle life gives him. This burden is clearly portrayed by a very interesting actor that we definitely want to see more in movies.
The dynamics of The Way Out are slowly revealed by writer/director Barry Jay who definitely takes his time to arouse suspicions but doesn’t confirm anything about Shane until the film’s third act. We understand he can’t represent absolute good for Alex, but the film goes in a “fatal attraction” direction that feels like a sharp decision by Jay. Regardless of gender or sexual preference, you will feel the danger of Shane’s acts.
The film is an interesting take on how trauma is the perfect cauldron for predators to use. Alex is short, with a body language that’s perhaps too obvious, and he’s the perfect victim for a monster who stops at nothing until he meets his agenda. Yes, there’s a reason for why he does what he does and it comes at a perfect time in a film that needs this reveal to compel audiences into finishing it. You will be shocked.