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Papillon

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Czech Republic, Spain, USA

2017

Rated R • 2h14

Michael Noer

Director

Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek, Christopher Fairbank, Eve Hewson

Stars

Drama, History, Crime

Genre

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Henri “Papillon” Charrière, a safecracker from the Parisian underworld, is wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, where he forges a strong friendship with Louis Dega, a counterfeiter who needs his protection.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

Village Voice by Bilge Ebiri

This new version, directed by Danish filmmaker Michael Noer, brings to the story a refreshing intensity and sweep, and even a sense of adventure.
60

The Guardian by Charles Bramesco

Hunnam and Malek both hold up their end of the deal. Noer, for his part, meets them halfway by conjuring golden-hued beauty for the jungle surroundings and a due griminess for the danker chambers of their holding compound. He doesn’t overcomplicate things for himself, keeping the clunky dialogue to a minimum and focusing on the guiding light of Papi’s indomitable willpower.
50

Slant Magazine by Chuck Bowen

This remake proffers the sort of cinematic nowhere place that's all too common of an increasingly corporate, globalized cinema.
70

Variety by Dennis Harvey

On its own terms, Noer’s adventure is ultimately a dramatic and dynamic-enough telling of an indelible fact-based story to connect with viewers.
75

The Film Stage by Jared Mobarak

Noer isn’t interested in the pulpy, wannabe mythic journey of Papillon when there’s a meatier through-line highlighting our humanity in dire straits. Rather than make his film about how far our bodies can go, he seeks to portray the lengths are hearts will.
40

The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

There’s no real voice in the storytelling, nothing distinctive about the imagery, if it’s not a doubling up on the violence and gore, and the result doesn’t remotely resonate in the same way.
50

Screen International by Tim Grierson

The remake of Papillon doesn’t lack for potential metaphorical riches, yet this brutal, bruising film never quite connects with its deeper themes, resulting in a story full of suffering but not enough transcendence.

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