A while back I was given the DVD of “Papillon” by a friend as a present, I guess he remembered I like the book and thought he’d get me the DVD. To be honest it’s just been stuck on the shelf for a small eternity going absolutely nowhere, so with some time to spare I decided to watch this last night (well after watching Masterchef at least!) Personally I don’t generally like prison movies (yeah believe it or not I didn’t like the the Shawshank Redemption which is IMDB’s highest rated movie), so I was a little sceptical about this as a film. The movie is based on the book by Henri Charrière and is apparently based on his true story.
The main stars of the film are Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. En route to Devil’s Island prison Charrière, nicknamed Papillon (named after a butterfly tattoo on his chest played by Steve McQueen) meets and befriends a “geeky” counterfeiter called Dega (Dustin Hoffman) also sentenced to imprisonment at the island and they become good friends on the trip and living on the penal island. Together they ceaselessly work on finding a way to escape whilst refusing to have their spirit broken by the cruel and brutal treatment meted out by their captors.
The first thing I realised was I must have seen it (well at least some of it) before as I remembered a couple of early parts. The two characters spend most of the movie trying to escape and to be honest, whilst I consider this to be a very good film I’m not sure that everybody has the patience to spend over two hours watching two guys try to escape a lot …. Basically the film is slow, relying on the interplay between the two very conflicting personalities of Charrière and Dega, so for some viewers not “actiony enough”, eg no car chases, martial arts or any snogging. Personally I like “drama” so I like the film, although to be fair it could probably do with being a bit shorter.
Papillon, for those who don’t know is French for “butterfly”.
I still it give it 7 out of 10.
You can get it on Amazon here: