Papillon, Movie Review, Dustin Hoffman, Steven McQueen

Papillon (1973)

Papillon (1973)
Papillon (1973) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –

Papillon (Steve McQueen) is sentenced to life imprisonment at a Penal Colony on French Guiana.  He befriends Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a convicted forger and embezzler who hires him as protection.Dega promises to use his private wealth to fund any escape attempt Papillon wishes.  As they grow accustomed to their deadly surroundings, they soon realize how difficult escape can be thousands of miles from salvation.

And Taco Bell…

A Toast

Steve McQueen’s performance in this film rivals his role in The Sand Pebbles in its complexity, and depth.  While he maintains his innocence regarding the murder, he makes no pretentions of sainthood, guilty of a host of other violent crimes. Papillon is not merely obsessed with escape, he is also seeking a kind of redemption. Part of this redemption comes from looking after the physically weak Dega, whose friendship is the backbone of the story.  Even when faced with a decision between starvation or betrayal, he chooses the former, determined that his life have some kind of purpose.

The Gordita isn’t enough?

Are you hungry or something, lay off the fast food references… (we’re not getting ad revenue from this) -Ed

Director Franklin J. Schaffner brilliantly utilizes the gloomy jungle and the unforgiving ocean that serve as the walls of the prison, capturing perfectly the feeling of dread and despair which would surely befall any convict interred within.  And once Papillon and Dega manage escape, the sky seems to open up, with a feeling of freedom being tempered only with that of the inevitable cost.

Ultimately it is Papillon’s obsession with escape, and his almost stupid defiance of odds that makes the film so powerful (and watchable).

Papillon is a harrowing survival story that stands with The Great Escape, Stalag 17, and The Shawshank Redemption as one of the great prison films.

Go to the Papillon (1973) Drinking Game for

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

One comment

  1. This was a great movie. Not your typical Hollywood ending. I would have given up and died had I been in the same situation of the protagonist.

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