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Helen O’Hara Mourns Missed Potential in Haunting “Escape Plan”

In response to Helen OHara’s 374‑word review of Escape Plan on Empire Magazine

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Plaintive and discerning, Helen O’Hara delivers a powerful review in her latest effort “Escape Plan: Arnie and Sly creaking in the joint,” a moving and emotional piece that tempers a dim reality against missed potential. The effect lingers.

O’Hara struggles with the facts early in her review, tracing a history of two characters readers will have come to expect something from. Both are old salts, both working back to recapture the brilliance of their oeuvre. The problem here is one of disconnect: the relationship is mismatched, and Creaking in the Joint attempts to understand the botched surgery of realignment.

Her attempt leaves more questions than answers. The reading experience will like as not leave audiences reeling. Yet O’Hara skillfully touches a nerve: “what if” is more important than what’s been.

Plot details get in the way of Creaking in the Joint, distracting but never derailing the effort. It’s a familiar story, but one painted in a weary pathos that can’t be ignored.

When things fall apart in the third act, O’Hara’s control over her piece reveals what Eliot called “insidious intent.” The experience cuts like a knife. It’s a scathing attack on the nature of popular film, which values bigger over better. Readers will find their regret transforming into disgust; the hollowness imparted by her verdict is owned by the reader—not merely shared.

Creaking in the Joint is a merciful 374 words, but those words communicate so much. No doubt minor missteps were made here—but it’s not tough to forgive them, as the work handily accomplishes its goal. Readers will delight in their ultimate dissatisfaction. What a work.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation