Papillon 2018: Film Review

Papillon is the 2018 film remake of a 1973 film, starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve Mcqueen, which is based off of the partially true memoirs of a french petty criminal Henri Cherriere who in 1931, was framed for the murder of a pimp and sent to spent the next part of his life confined to a hard manual labour prison in South America. The newest portrayal was starred by Charlie Human playing Papillon who quickly befriends Lois Dega (Rami Malek) a high profile banker imprisoned for fraud and they quickly become friends with the joint deal of escape for Henri and protection for Lois who has concealed a large stash of money in his behind.

The film portrays the multiple escape attempts that the duo persue and the friendship and loyalty that subsequently keeps getting them caught, brought back to prison and Henri dealing with the majority of the ramifications. At one point Henri is left to deal with a 2 year sentence in solitary confinement where he is not allowed to utter a word and subsequently falls into an apparent madness and Lois has found himself a comfortable administration role in which he is allowed to roam partially freely and send Henri coconuts to keep him going.

Although the film is littered with great actors, an obviously high budget and amazing set and scenery there’s just something not quite there for me. During the film and the near after I felt like I went through a tidal wave of emotions; initial disappointment at the film itself, quickly followed by forgiveness as it was based on true events which always makes everything better right? After a quick google for more information I found myself feeling disappointment again as there are many sources which claim that only a tiny fraction of the events in Henri Cherriere’s memoirs were true and a number of others were either gathered from literature, friends or stories that he had heard. there were moments of what I thought was great acting from both Charlie Hunman and unsurprisingly Rami Malek but unfortunately I found the storyline just a bit too mediocre although I was heavily invested in the escapes themselves. I wouldn’t mind reading the memoirs though as I feel like there would be more sincerity.

I’m going to give this film a 3/5 and I know I’ve dragged it quite a bit but the acting, set, costumes, escapes and all round feel of the movie has to push it up from a 2.

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