‘No Way Out’ Ending, Explained: Why Did Tessa Lie? Was She A Sociopath?

Azi Rahman has put up a sufficient amount of violence in his hour-and-a-half-long feature “No Way Out.” The writing of Keth Kjarval is neat, and the execution is pretty sensuous. Femme fatale exists, and if portrayed in a sharp tone, stories around it can be very persuasive at times. All the James Bond movies managed to establish a femme fatale; however, the film in the discussion today delivers a whole different aspect than that. Many of us have seen “Gone Girl,” and Azi Rahman’s “No Way Out” relives the distant memories of that film. “Gone Girl” is one of the most outstanding works vibrantly representing the femme fatale. In “No Way Out,” the femme fatale we see mostly plays with the protagonist’s mind, staying off the screen.

Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Movie ‘No Way Out’?

Azi Rahman’s “No Way Out” starts with a photographer named Nick, and the story is plotted in Los Angeles. Nick is more like an artist who doesn’t care for money but takes pleasure in his work. He clicks random pictures in public, and while doing so, he sees a familiar face in the crowd posing for him. The girl comes near him, calls him a stalker, and says that clicking such pictures is kind of creepy. Nick knows her as a model, and he belongs to the same line of work. Her name is Tessa, and she likes Nick’s clicks. After a while, they start dating each other and are very much in love. Tessa even connects Nick with her friends, who help him shoot some of the extensive budget work. They were both very happy until one day, Tessa reacted awkwardly to seeing some men at a party. When Nick asked what happened, Tessa told him how the three men raped her once. She also told him that she had filed a complaint with the police, but those guys were not the ones who got arrested, and everything was over. Tessa wanted to run away from this mess, and Nick wanted to go with her. Tessa declined his urge, but she said he must kill those men if he truly loved her. Nick knew he could not kill somebody; Tessa left him.

After a while, Nick went to a shoot when some dark things were covering his mind. Tessa left him, and he was hallucinating her presence everywhere. It was a very rough time for him; even his work represented his dark phase. After numerous calls and messages, Tessa finally returned when he said he would protect her. By protecting, Tessa thought Nick had agreed to kill the men. But, Nick said he would find other ways to deal with this, and seeing Tessa distraught by this, he decided to kill those men. Nick gathered information from her about them and followed their everyday routine. One by one, he killed all the three men, but while killing the youngest of them all, Matteo, he begged for his life. He shouted at him, saying he knew what he had done to Tessa; he raped her. In reply, Matteo said that he left Tessa because she wanted him to kill somebody. Once you kill someone for the first time, it is hard to stop yourself from killing again. Nick understood the situation very well, but he killed Matteo no matter what. Then he went to Tessa and wanted to know the reason behind all this. Tessa said she did it because now she understood that Nick truly loved her. Nick stood up crying, and you could hear the voice of police sirens in the background.

‘No Way Out’ Ending Explained: Did Tessa Lie About Her Rape? If So, Then Why Not?

There is one genuine possibility about the ending: Tessa was not raped, at least not by the ones whom Nick killed. Apart from that, why did Tessa lie about her rape? Ultimately, she said she wanted to know how much Nick loved her. The film ends with the sound of the sirens and Nick standing in disbelief, repenting. In the beginning, he said every time that he could not kill a man. But, seeing Tessa in pain, he suddenly gathered the courage to murder someone. There is no proper backstory for the characters that would help the audience analyze them psychologically. Nick has been seeking his father’s approval, and when he first saw Tessa, he told her to look into her eyes through his click. Nick said that the eyes expressed Tessa’s liking for being photographed by him. In the very last scene, Nick stands up and cries after watching Tessa closely. It was probably what he understood now that Tessa had been lying through her eyes the whole time. The repentance of falling in love with Tessa made him cry, not the regret of killing those innocent (probably) men. This film needed more suspension of disbelief regarding how Nick turned into a murderer. However, there is enough suggestion in the film that Tessa lied about her rape, but why did she lie? Why did she behave awkwardly after seeing those three men at the party?

The three guys looked like they were brothers. Tessa said while describing the incident of rape, the younger one, Matteo, was kissing her in a way that made her feel like they had been in a relationship for a long time. But, the other two were not nice to her. They smiled, took videos of her, and even raped her, as she said. She handed them over to the police, and now when she saw them at the party, she feared they would come after her. But why did she urinate if she was lying about rape? She urinated out of fear, and that was well established in that sequence. But, what was her fear? There can be one or two possibilities. Let’s assume she was raped in the first place. Maybe Tessa was raped before coming to L.A., but the trauma stayed with her for longer. There might have been two men who raped her, and after she arrived in Los Angeles, she came into contact with Matteo. Matteo loved her very much; maybe Tessa too loved him, but soon her trauma intrigued her into doing something terrible. She wanted to know whether Matteo loved her enough to kill someone. She spoke of her story of getting raped and asking Matteo to kill a man. But, since Matteo had two friends or brothers, they somehow managed to save him from Tessa’s insane request. They might have threatened her to leave L.A., and if they ever saw her, they would kill her or something like that. This is why Tessa was afraid to see them at the party.

Another possibility is that Tessa enjoys manipulating someone into killing them. She was never raped; she just had the pleasure of seeing to what extent her lovers could go for her. This possibility mostly justifies her last words in the film, when Nick asks her why she lied or what her reason was behind killing those men even though they were not guilty of raping her. She is a sociopath with extensive manipulative power who loves to have all the attention. She first builds trust and even records their intimate moments so that they don’t doubt her. She even helps them in ways; for Nick, she introduces him to her friend for the big budget shoots. Tessa would have talked to Nick about killing some men eventually, but at the party, she saw the three men who threatened her already. So, if Nick killed them, she would have left with no enemies, as even if Nick found out about the truth, he would have been in police custody for murdering three men. Some might argue that if Tessa was a sociopath, how did she behave normally? Well then, femme fatale! What can we say? But it would have been perfect to see the director take some initiative to establish the darker aspects of Tessa.

Final Words

As we said earlier, this is a very different approach, and the whole movie had this sensuous ambiance throughout. The cinematography is sometimes very generic and sometimes too intimate, but it never dulls. The actors performed pretty well, be it Joey Bicicchi or Maia Mitchell. Maia had the opportunity to show way more vibrant acting than she did to show the character Tessa. There was not much to perform for the other actors, apart from Katelyn Pippy as Nick’s friend Sammy. The writing could have been more precise with a bit more psychological establishment. The transformation of Nick was one of the most critical moments in the film, and that scene was probably the most disappointing of all. This, in particular, delivered a vicious blow to the formation of the whole story. Many aspects went unspoken, like what the three men did in their lives and how they usually behaved with women. In one scene, we see Nick getting furious with Tessa for breaching his privacy; from this, we can conclude that Nick had some trust issues with people. But, when Tessa told him about the rape and the police, he blindly trusted her without verifying once or asking why she had not left L.A. earlier or how she was so comfortable knowing nothing about the whereabouts of the rapists. Some might say that he was doing it because he was blindly in love with Tessa. But, when transforming from an ordinary man into a killer, only love is not enough; some obsession or blind faith must be involved. So, these lapses made the film not-so-unique, if not a failed attempt at a psychological thriller.

“No Way Out” is a 2022 Crime Thriller film directed by Azi Rahman.

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Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy is a creative content writer. Formerly he used to write film reviews on an international film festival website named Beyond the Curve International Film Festival. He also interviewed global directors. He also interviewed one of the characters from the show 'Trailer Park Boys', Mr. Bernard Robichaud, platformed in Netflix. Shovan tends to write through the third person narrative and he loves to do psychoanalysis. He can't say that he has mastered it but that is some sort of hobby of his. Film is a platform where he loves to spend most of his time learning.
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