5 Movies Like No Exit (2022)

Staff & contributors

 As a result of the miraculous success of the famed Tham Luang cave rescue, which saw the return of 12 kids trapped in a cave for more than 15 days, you’ll find no shortage of documentaries about the mission. Some take the point of view of the children, even others the locals and loved ones. But National Geographic’s The Rescue largely focuses on the volunteer rescuers, all of whom were foreigners who flew from different parts of the globe to risk their lives for the young victims. The film dives into their personal lives and their psyches, even going so far as their childhood to explain the motivations behind the heroic decisions they made at that moment. In less deft hands, The Rescue might seem like yet another White Savior Complex story, but directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (the same creative couple behind the Oscar-winning doc Free Solo) prove that the divers’ expertise, skill, and personal stakes make for a story worth telling.   

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Derek Anderson, Jim Warny, John Volanthen, Rick Stanton, Thanet Natisri

Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin

Rating: PG

Survivors are often painted in a brave light; they’re applauded for their resilience and toughness, and in the case of school shootings, many of them are also expected to take up arms and fight the good fight. While this is of course laudable, many survivors are simply trying to get by. Unable to process trauma and inexplicable loss, they become withdrawn, depressed, and reckless—not exactly noteworthy traits, but understandable and equally deserving of empathy.

The Fallout shifts the focus on this side of survival by following Vada in the aftermath of a school shooting. Unlike her peers, she fails to cope positively and becomes increasingly self-destructive. But it's through this unsentimental portrayal that The Fallout achieves a frankness and rawness that few films like it have. 

Genre: Drama

Actor: Austin Zajur, Christine Horn, Elliott Roca, Jenna Ortega, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen, Lumi Pollack, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Shailene Woodley, Will Ropp, Yindra Zayas

Director: Megan Park

Rating: R

While most media outlets would rather talk about Taylor Swift’s love life and never-ending feuds, the fact remains that Swift is a dedicated artist. She’s a prolific songstress and an astute writer, and regardless of what you think of her, it’s always a treat to see someone with that much passion and talent delve deep into their craft. 

This is precisely what she does in Folklore. Between cozy conversations with co-producers and rustic live sessions, Swift lets her guard down to reveal how she works on each song, from the backstory to the melody. The result is a mesmerizing documentary about how Swift spent the secluded year of 2020 working on a record that would go on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys. 

Genre: Documentary, Drama, Music

Actor: Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, Justin Vernon, Taylor Swift

Director: Taylor Swift

Rating: TV-14

The main subject that Hold Your Fire promises to be about—negotiation tactics first used in resolving a New York City standoff at a sporting goods store—is ultimately its most least interesting aspect. These supposed tactics aren't too well, and they end up putting a damper on all the human drama that comes before it, which proves strikingly three-dimensional. As the film revisits the details of the hostage situation from the perspective of those who were actually there, it also complicates the situation by compelling us to think of it in a dense, sociopolitical sense rather than a reductive lens of crime and punishment. It's this build-up to the actual negotiation that may actually hold more insight into these kinds of crises.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Stefan Forbes

With uninteresting characters and an aggressively bland story right from the start, Choose Love fails to establish any stakes worth caring about, no matter what choices we make throughout. Any sense of novelty from playing this choose-your-own-romcom vanishes once you notice how certain decision points lead to the exact same idea, or are blatantly disregarded by the character you "control" anyway. Choice is a complete illusion here, and the fact that we're only asked to participate when it comes to some of the most inane dilemmas only highlights how the film's protagonist isn't acting like a rational, adult human being with any self-respect or regard for others. Sure, people are inherently flawed and it can be fun to see how disastrous this situation can get through our own manipulation, but by the end there's still no believable spark to be found. It feels like a cop-out no matter what.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Avan Jogia, Benjamin Hoetjes, Blair Strang, Jack Bright, Jacque Drew, Jesse Griffin, Jordi Webber, Laura Marano, Lucy Wigmore, Megan Smart, Nell Fisher, Scott Michael Foster

Director: Stuart McDonald