Jacques Becker directs Michel Constantin, Raymond Meunier and Jean Keraudy in this true story of a painstakingly executed prison break.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the short Jacques Becker season at the Edinburgh Filmhouse last week. He seems to have a keen eye on the daily grind of criminal’s lives, their unreliable codes and the futility of hope given their situation. No ill gotten luxury lifestyles here to wallow in, instead lengthy docudrama shots of five determined men dedicatedly creating a tunnel towards a dull Parisian street corner. We get a five minute uncut chiselling sequence and it is more thrilling than any laser shootout. You feel every blow and chunk of cement unlodged. The truth of the events are left to present themselves, no score caresses your emotions, no overwrought piece of acting dictates how you feel, you shares the mental and physical strain by being coldly implicit. Only furtive glances between the trapped men betray any humanity as they work together to freedom … A spartan, unfussy gripper.