Papillon (2017 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Noer|
|Screenplay by||Aaron Guzikowski|
|Based on||Papillon and Banco|
by Henri Charrière
|Music by||David Buckley|
|Distributed by||Bleecker Street|
|Box office||$4.5 million|
Papillon is a 2017 biographical drama film directed by Michael Noer. It tells the story of French convict Henri Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), nicknamed Papillon ("butterfly"), who was imprisoned in 1933 in the notorious Devil's Island penal colony and escaped in 1941 with the help of another convict, counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek). The film's screenplay is based on Charrière's autobiographies Papillon and Banco, as well as the former's 1973 film adaptation, which was written by Dalton Trumbo and Lorenzo Semple Jr. and starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
Henri "Papillon" Charrière, a safecracker from the Parisian underworld, is framed for murder. Though he has an alibi from his lover, Nenette, Papillon is convicted and condemned to the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island in French Guiana — a hellish prison from which nobody has escaped.
On the boat to South America, Papillon meets a quirky counterfeiter named Louis Dega. That evening Dega is awakened as two convicts murder a prisoner sleeping next to him in order to cut open his stomach and steal the money he had swallowed. Papillon forms an unlikely alliance with Dega, who is targeted by the other prisoners who suspect him of also hiding money. Papillon saves Louis' life and is punished for fighting by the guards. In exchange for Papillon's protection, Louis agrees to finance Papillon's escape, ultimately resulting in a bond of lasting friendship.
While Papillon and Dega are tasked to carry away a guillotined body, a guard starts to whip Dega. Papillon strikes the guard with a rock and runs into the jungle for his first escape. He is given two years of silent solitary confinement. After the warden learns he has been receiving extra food, his rations are cut in half. Papillon does not betray Dega.
The second escape plan is made from the prison infirmary. Papillon is feigning insanity from his confinement. Dega is an aide to the warden and still has money to fund the escape. Celier has a connection to get a boat. The sexually abused Maturette is the fourth to join the dangerous venture. Dega drugs the guards using pills meant to sedate a supposedly insane Papillon and the four escape over the walls to a boat. As a storm approaches, it is clear they will not all survive in the small leaky boat. Celier wants to kill the injured Dega but in the battle it is Celier who dies. Next the three survivors find themselves being cared for in a Colombian convent. Their apparent freedom is short lived because the Mother Superior turns them in. Maturette is killed and Papillon gets five years in solitary confinement.
Papillon is released as a weathered older man on Devil's Island with high cliffs. He finds Dega who has adjusted to prison life and he has no interest in escape. A fall from the cliffs is certain death. Papillon bags coconuts together for a raft and in a swell of waves he survives the fall. The third escape is a success and he is a free man. He writes a memoir.
The movie postscript reads: "Over 80,000 prisoners were condemned to the penal colony in French Guiana, most of whom never returned to France. Henri Charriere's autobiography "Papillon" became the number one bestseller for 21 weeks in France. To date, it has sold over 13 million copies in 30 languages. In 1970, the French Minister of Justice signed a decree allowing Charriere to return to France. For the remainder of his life, he lived a free man. The penal colony in French Guiana did not survive him".
- Charlie Hunnam as Henri "Papillon" Charrière
- Rami Malek as Louis Dega
- Yorick van Wageningen as Warden Barrot
- Roland Møller as Celier
- Tommy Flanagan as Masked Breton
- Eve Hewson as Nenette
- Michael Socha as Julot
- Brian Vernel as Guittou
- Ian Beattie as Toussaint
- Nicholas Asbury as Commandant
- Nikola Kent as Deputy Warden Brioulet
- Slavko Sobin as El Caiman
- Joel Basman as Marturette
- Petar Cirica as Abda
- Veronica Quilligan as Mother Superior
- Demetri Goritsas as Jean-Pierre Castelnau
- Poppy Mahendra as Zoraima
- Petar Vitorovic as stunt
The film debuted to $1.2 million from 544 theaters in its opening weekend, finishing 16th. As of August 26, 2018[update], Papillon had grossed $1,585,045 in the United States and Canada, and $2,180,684 in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $3,765,729.
101 critic reviews on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes result in a 52% fresh Tomatometer score, with an average rating of 5.8/10. Audience scores were higher at 67% fresh. The website's critical consensus reads, "Papillon puts its own well-acted, solidly produced spin on a previously adapted tale, although it may not be quite enough to erase viewers' memories of the 1973 version." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
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- Kroll, Justin (3 August 2016). "'Mr. Robot' Star Rami Malek Joins Charlie Hunnam in 'Papillon' Remake". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- Kay, Jeremy (5 December 2016). "US Briefs: Red Granite Pictures wraps 'Papillon'". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
- Carson, Rene (22 May 2018). "Brand New photos, poster and trailer revealed for true-life escape thriller Papillon". Film Fetish. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 26, 2018). "'Why 'Happytime Murders' Reps A Solo Career B.O. Low For Melissa McCarthy In A 'Crazy Rich' Weekend – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
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