A bromance and a heartbreaking prison escape film that The Shawshank Redemption melodramatically and eye-rollingly replicated decades later, sans the epic sweep and elegant appeal of this film. Despite having some different situations, the themes are exact: the maintaining of hope and dreams. Yet, Papillon knows how to make it as equally sad as it's uplifting without succumbing to Hallmark bullshit sentimentality.
The book is quite the tale. Hard to believe that it all happened. But a feast to the imagination of the reader. It captures all your fantasies about freedom and the rewards of not giving up and finding your place. This movie did take it to a higher level, with good actors, fulfiling it. While it does not leave to the imagination, all the gaps and gray areas, like literature does, it does makes it a bit more credible.
There's something intolerably sad about the last 30 minutes of the film. That brilliant duet of middle-aged men living on a ridiculous island, maddened by the heat and the life they've lead, still trying to escape. Brilliant.
A unique prison film that spans a timeline of an incarceration rather than focusing on the need to escape or the wrongfully accused. Steve McQueen shines as he subtly alters his acting as his character ages and undergoes trauma. There were some elements of dark humor without going into his Great Escape character.