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Escape from Pretoria

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United Kingdom · 2020
Rated PG-13 · 1h 42m
Director Francis Annan
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Webber, Ian Hart, Mark Leonard Winter
Genre Drama, History, Thriller

In 1979, Timothy Jenkins and Stephen Lee were imprisoned for working on behalf of the ANC to promote anti-apartheid missions. Determined to escape, the two white South Africans formed a plan with another prisoner, Alex Moumbaris, to break out of the notorious white man's 'Robben Island,' Pretoria Prison.

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What are critics saying?


Empire by

Despite an inherently cinematic story and some effective sequences, Escape From Pretoria struggles to transcend a clunky, one-dimensional script.


Variety by Guy Lodge

Francis Annan’s film works effectively as a straight-up jailbreak thriller, well-oiled in greasy B-movie tradition. It’s when it shoots for more historical import that it falls somewhat short.


The Hollywood Reporter by John DeFore

Star Daniel Radcliffe will be the biggest draw here, but the pic's focus on planning and genre mechanics over personalities may limit its appeal for his fans.


Film Threat by Lorry Kikta

I highly recommend this film to everyone but especially those who love biopics and prison thrillers. I think it’s important for people to learn this piece of history, and I’m glad that Francis Annan brought his interpretation of these events to an audience that might not be familiar with them.


Los Angeles Times by Noel Murray

This procedural quality to Escape From Pretoria — combined with an accomplished cast that includes Ian Hart as the anti-apartheid prisoner most opposed to Jenkin’s plan — adds some oomph to a movie that features limited sets, a simple story and none of the Hollywood polish of The Shawshank Redemption.


TheWrap by Simon Abrams

Almost everything that’s enjoyable about Escape From Pretoria is a variation on stuff you’ve probably seen in superior prison movies, though Radcliffe’s haunted performance is exceptionally compelling.


The Observer (UK) by Wendy Ide

A pacy screenplay, co-written by director Francis Annan and adapted from a book by Jenkin, rarely flags, but it’s the nervy camera, hugging the characters at hip height, the better to scrutinise each locked barrier to freedom, that most successfully builds the tension.

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