Francois Leterrier (father of director Louis Leterrier who, other than Unleashed, is really quite terrible, with a track record including The Transporter 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk and the godawful Clash of the Titans) is Fontaine, an inmate at a Nazi execution prison. Left bloodied and beaten after an escape attempt en route, Fontaine doesn’t hang about before he tries to break out again.
This is an incredibly minimalistic film, with much of it taking place from the confines of Fontaine’s cell, tapping conversations to his neighbour or scraping away at his door with a spoon, and the camera is infatuated with the nuances of his face.
There are some glaring plot holes that could well be just a product of the time – cell checks seem to be very infrequent and less than thorough, and why exactly do the cells have a solid stone shelf, strong enough to support a grown man’s weight and accessible even to the elderly, positioned right next to the only window in the cell.
The film’s finale is at times almost unbearably tense, with no music but for the sound of trains rushing past and a mysterious creaking noise, and fans of the Shawshank Redemption – or any other prison movie for that matter – would do well to seek this out.
Choose film 7/10