A Man Escaped is widely recognized as one of the finest escape dramas ever made, despite it being anything but an archetypal escape film. French auteur Robert Bresson, true to his love for minimalism and under-dramatization of proceedings, stripped the film to its bare essentials while chronicling the story (based on the memoirs of Andre Devigny) – the end result is a nerve-racking experience and an outstanding film. Fontaine (François Leterrier), a member of the French Resistance, is captured by the Nazis and put into a prison. Right from the moment he arrives there, there’s just one thing and one thing alone occupying his mind – finding a way to escape from the hell-hole. He makes exceptional use of his fecund mind, resourcefulness, observant nature, and searing will to accomplish his goal, and gets crucial assistance from some of his fellow inmates as well as in the form of much needed luck at times, in order to meticulously plan his escape. The first half of the film deals with the planning and preparatory process, while the second about the actual escape with a young cell-mate in tow. Stylistically the movie is anything but the kind of pulsating, edge-of-the-seat thrillers that one would generally expect, what with its stark B/W photography, long takes, matter-of-fact voiceover, and long moments of silence (only to be punctuated from time to time by Mozart’s compositions). Yet, despite the quintessential Bressonian elements, this managed to be a truly gripping account courtesy the minute detailing, clinical storytelling, brilliant narrative pacing, and the importance laid on subtleties over grandiosity.
Director: Robert Bresson
Genre: Thriller/Prison Drama/Escape Film/Docu-drama