PAPILLON (2018)

Cert 15 130mins Stars 3

Geordie TV star, Charlie Hunnam, takes on one of the iconic roles of Hollywood legend, Steve McQueen in this effective period prison drama remake.

As a prisoner nicknamed Papillon, he sweats through the vicious regime of a remote island prison in French Guiana, before being sent to the notorious Devils’ Island.

He befriends a forger called Dega, and as good as he was as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek is no Dustin Hoffman.

This second adaptation of Henri Charriere’s famous 1969 autobiography is straightforward, sturdy and handsomely designed with impressive location work and always commits to the brutality of the story.

But it cleaves so closely to the earlier film without offering any new perspective on criminal justice, colonisation, racism or any other subject, I wonder why they bothered.

And Hunnam’s a piece of casting on a par with Carl ‘Apollo Creed’ Weathers, stepping into Oscar winner Sidney Poitier’s shoes in the 1986 remake of 1958 chain gang classic, The Defiant Ones.

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