PAPILLION | Review

Sometimes the time that one ends up paying for the crime isn’t always justified and in the movie PAPILLION Henri “Papillon” Charrière (Charlie Hunnam) pays a hefty price for stealing a small fortune of diamonds for a local gangster. His biggest crime however may be that he bestows said diamonds on his girlfriend  Nenette (Eve Hewson) instead. In retaliation, his gangster boss frames Papillon for a murder he had nothing to do with which earns him a life sentence at the infamous penal colony in French Guiana.
Directed by Michael Noer, written by Aaron Guzikowski and based on the epic true story and international, best-selling books, “Papillon” and “Banco,”  PAPILLION (so called because of the butterfly tattoo that Henri has engraved on his chest) unfolds as we encounter the numerous escape attempts by our main protagonist along with his meek side kick, currency forger Louis Dega (Rami Malek), who is sentenced to life for producing counterfeit bonds.
Powerful stand out moments occur mostly when we see the effect of hopelessness on the human spirit.  Charlie Hunnam, manages to play broken beautifully.  However, the movie would have greatly benefited from providing more story related to the time between escape attempts and then later, the movie would have felt more complete if we could have seen the impact of the trials and tribulations that prisoners endured during long periods of solitary confinement and how this impacted their lives in freedom if they managed to escape.  What plays well in the movie is the stark physical and emotional contrast between Hunnam and Malek and how each manages to show strength and loyalty to the other in times of need.  PAPILLION also  represent an opportunity to understand how France used a system of confinement and prisoners to help build one of their colonies.
PAPILLION opens in cinemas on August 24th, check local listings for show times

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