Film Review: Escape from New York

I might not be timely—Escape from New York came out in 1981—but one of my goals is to watch more movies (especially classics and cult classics that I’ve missed along the way). I want to use this space to share my thoughts about films I like.


I recently rented Escape from New York and enjoyed it immensely. It’s directed by John Carpenter (of Halloween fame). The film is set in a distopian future America. Crime has skyrocketed and the entire island of Manhattan is a walled-off prison where inmates are left to fend for themselves. When Air force One is hijacked and crashes inside the walls of Manhattan, authorities turn to Snake (played by Kurt Russell). Snake is a special forces soldier turned criminal. The film follows Snake as he tries to find and rescue the president.

Kurt Russell

I enjoy a good story—and this movie has it—but more than that, I enjoy compelling visuals. This film was so fun to watch. It’s dark and moody. There are shadows everywhere (and people lurking in them). The high tech government offices with their super computers is a stark contrast to the rough, almost Medievel feel of the prison. Shots were composed beautifully, and it was a joy to watch. I took photos of the screen with my phone while I was watching the movie in my living room. Strange, perhaps, but the colors, lighting and composition of the scenes inspired me to paint what I saw. Now I have photos to work from.

In addition to Kurt Russell, there are terrific performances by Ernest Borgnine as a cab driver, and Isaac Hayes, who plays the Mayor of New York City.


Filed under Art, Film

2 responses to “Film Review: Escape from New York

  1. Also! His name is Snake. I like this idea of watching cult classics! Good times.

  2. Totally! How could you not like a protagonist named Snake? The only other Snake I know is the petty thief on The Simpsons. I believe he steals to pay his student loans…

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