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French Resistance activist Andre Devigny is imprisoned by the Nazis, and devotes his waking hours to planning an elaborate escape. Then, on the same day, he is condemned to death, and given a new cellmate. Should he kill him, or risk revealing his plans to someone who may be a Gestapo informer? Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
What makes a movie great? Sometimes we find it in an actor's performance, sometimes it lies in the plot, maybe is the suspense, or amazing action scenes. "A Man Escaped", a movie by acclaimed director Robert Bresson delivers none of those elements we usually associate with great films. However, the expertise and craftsmanship of Bresson makes for an unparalleled experience, full of non-stop suspense that keeps you at the edge of your seat, captivated by every action and every move. In fact, this is one of the first times in recent memory when I don't end up checking my watch, or looking around, or even exchanging a couple of words with my company. "A Man Escaped" simply doesn't allow you to catch your breath. Bresson is known for his very distinct style, in which his interest goes beyond performances or strong plots, but rather relies on the character of his scenes, in the way he builds each and every take to make you build the environment for yourself. Bresson is the mastermind behind the term "suggestive" cinema. He shows you just enough for you to build the scene on your own and it is such a subtle directing skill, that you don't realize unless you carefully study the art of his direction. Bresson submerges us in a prisoner's routine, inside a process of patience and conviction that eventually pays off. Bresson goes as far as to show us the result of the movie in its very title, fully confident that even when you know what will happen at the end, there is no way you won't feel the increasing tension, and electrifying suspense that starts from the very first scenes. At the end, it is a movie about patience, about the intellect of a prisoner whose will and desire to escape a prison portrays the strengths of the human spirit. However, the movie does not have uplifting phrases that often fall into clichés. This, ladies and gentleman, is what cinema can do for us. Less is more.
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