A sort of hybrid film that reproduces some of the prison film conventions (thematic and visual) but manages somehow to incorporate this into a sort of existential parable about movement and stasis. This paradox is well-resolved visually thanks to Konchalovsky's dynamic direction and due to his genuine ability to conjure imagery beyond the action/metaphor polarity. Voight is superb as the rational "beast of burden".
This was the first movie we watched in my Film 101 class at a prominent university. After the film ended, our teacher goes, "Good movie, huh?" My friends and I burst out laughing, enjoying his practical joke. Then we realized he wasn't kidding. That was awkward. Went on to watch other timeless classics like "Bats" and "There's Something About Mary." It was around this time that I decided community college was plenty.
One of my favourite films is "Runaway Train" (1985). It is an unusual Hollywood film, based on an original script by Akira Kurosawa and was directed by Andrei Tarkovsky's classmate, collaborator, and co-scriptwriter of several films--Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky. My full review is at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.in/2015/09/183-russian-director-andrei-mikhalkov.html
Du travail de maître où l'action prime sur toutes autres considérations psychologiques ou esthétiques. Dans cette furia aventureuse, la machine et l'homme redeviennent, pour quelques instants, des dieux... www.cinefiches.com