In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.
Henri "Papillon" Charierre is sentenced to life in prison and transported to the penal in French Guyana. Aboard ship on the voyage over, he meets Louis Degas, a forger. They form a bond that will last them a great many years. The conditions at the penal colony are horrific and Papillon desperately wants to escape. He first attempt ends quickly in failure and as a result he spends 2 years in solitary confinement. His next attempts is somewhat more successful and he actually spends a idyllic time with a tribe of Central America Indians. Once caught however, he does 5 years in solitary confinement. Once released, he decides to make one final attempt at freedom. Written by
Unflinching look at brutal penal colony...gripping but exhausting...
Brutal treatment in a penal colony has been explored on the screen before in such earlier films as I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, but never has there been a more graphic expose of the sort of conditions prisoners faced under the worst sort of environment.
At times the film is extremely harrowing to watch, and at other times the story tends to drag a little. But there can be no doubt that STEVE McQUEEN and DUSTIN Hoffman create believable and sympathetic (yet quirky) characterizations and do some of the finest acting of their careers. Their roles are physically demanding and always played with total conviction.
Not for the squeamish, but extremely well acted by the entire cast, great location photography and a nice background score by Jerry Goldsmith. The first half of the story is much more compelling than what happens in the final years and the last half-hour of the film is a bit sluggish in pacing. But overall, a memorable escape film that ranks with the best of other escape stories.
My first viewing of the film years ago made an indelible impression on me, but I must confess that later viewings convinced me that it is not exactly flawless in that the pacing is sometimes much too slow and the ending is somewhat unsatisfying.
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