Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mini-Review - "Papillon" (1973)


I'm beginning to realize that I am not the biggest Steve McQueen fan.

Don't get me wrong, I think McQueen is a one-of-a-kind actor. I've never seen anyone turn in a performance like him, in that his are often emotional, but also silent and distant. In "Papillon," McQueen plays a convict, wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit, and is sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island, the French equivalent of Alcatraz.

The problem with "Papillon" is that McQueen never really attempts to connect with the audience. We just go along with him for the ride, as he attempts to escape from this prison, for over two and a half hours. The second half of the film is incredibly tedious to sit through, as we just wait for the film to end once McQueen and his friend (played by Dustin Hoffman) nearly escape.

I don't know about you, but something is wrong when the audience is just waiting for the something to happen so that the film can end.

That being said, "Papillon" does not pull any punches when it comes to the violence of prison. We see realistic depictions of a man's head being cut off via guillotine, as well as throats being cut and fresh bullet holes through people's heads. I was surprised when some of those happened, as I did not think the film would go that far.

Still, these random acts of violence aside, "Papillon" does not have much going for it. The acting from Dustin Hoffman is nice, as always, but McQueen just sits around and waits for events to happen and the film gets stale half way through.

Final Grade: C+

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