The Escape is what happens when a car company puts their best foot forward in creating a unique vision for their advertisements. This BMW-produced short film was an idea that originated back in 2001, placing Clive Owen in the role of a mysterious driver with serious skills behind the wheel. Owen would perform under the direction of several notable directors in various short films that placed him at the steering wheel of a BMW. After more than a decade, Owen is back in action.
Joining a list of directors that has included John Woo, Tony Scott, Ang Lee, Joe Carnahan, Guy Ritchie, and Alejandro González Iñárritu, Neill Blomkamp is the man behind The Escape. A few weeks after seeing a teaser trailer for his new BMW film, anyone can now go onto YouTube and watch the full short. As can be seen above, it lasts about 10 minutes without credits and features Owen and other notable stars in a quick-paced car chase story.
Fans can watch some behind-the-scenes clips on the same YouTube channel. The short was filmed in Toronto and there are plenty of other little facts to learn about this notable production. Additionally, BMW put out this official release further detailing those involved:
“From Academy Award nominated director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9,” “Elysium”), the action-packed short film features original BMW Films star and Academy Award nominated actor Clive Owen (“Closer,” “Children of Men”) who reprises his role as The Driver, Dakota Fanning (“War of the Worlds,” “I am Sam”), Jon Bernthal (“The Punisher,” “Daredevil”) and Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (“The Departed,” “Up in the Air”). The all-new BMW 5 Series sedan serves as Owen’s vehicle of choice and co-star.”
While The Escape marks the return of BMW Films, the original series, known as The Hire, was comprised of eight short films released in two seasons from 2001 to 2002. The films all featured Owen, who was then a rising star and were directed by some of Hollywood’s brightest talent. The films also featured a strong list of talent in front of the camera, including Mickey Rourke, James Brown, Don Cheadle, Madonna, Gary Oldman, and more. The films managed to receive over 100 million views online, which is a huge number, especially when you consider it was before YouTube and high-speed internet.
Now we have this latest entry and it is quite enjoyable. While the story really doesn’t make too much sense, this is less about a coherent narrative and more of an excuse to see Blomkamp’s style applied to a cool car chase. Owen still has quite the presence as the driver and he is given a solid foe to go up against with Jon Bernthal. While future shorts can hopefully create even more car-based chaos, The Escape does manage to provide thrills, action, and even some explosions. That’s plenty for an extended car commercial.
The Escape can currently be found on YouTube and at BMW Films. More short films should be announced soon.