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Check out various snippets below from a variety of reviews of Papillon after it’s debut at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Admittedly they don’t fair so well with some critics but still worth checking out.
Variety: In almost every respect, Danish director Michael Noer’s remake — which as “inspired by true events” credits equally real-life protagonist Henri Charrière’s memoirs and the earlier screenplay as sources — is a humbler enterprise, although still ambitious and impressive enough. New stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek are neither burdened nor burnished by already-iconic star status; this brisker telling is less pretentious if also less distinctive as large-scale filmmaking. In the end, what matters most is that the principally unchanged story of survival in colonial French Guiana remains a compelling one, no less when played as a relatively straightforward action-suspense saga rather than as a gargantuan allegory about the Indomitable Human Spirit.[…]
Nonetheless, Hunnam (though better in his other 2017 historical epic, “Lost City of Z”) is impressive, particularly during the physical deterioration of the long isolation setpiece. Malek is solid, but Dega could have used more slyness or some other distinguishing characteristic.
Hollywood Reporter: At best, Hunnam and Malek showcase their intense physical dedication, while generating a few chuckles amid all the hardship. They don’t really have the allure of McQueen and Hoffmann on screen — who ever could? — yet they’re an enjoyable combo in a movie that, despite a two-hour-plus running time, ultimately feels way more rushed than mastered (including a considerable amount of dubbing) and never recreates the harrowing experience of either the original or of the colonies in general. […]
The Film Stage: It seems like such a small alteration and yet it speaks volumes for Noer and Guzikowski as storytellers. They change who says certain lines, shift motivations, and oftentimes streamline ordeals that came across as overly convoluted in the original. Those endeavors that took multiple starts and stops to either succeed or fail in Schaffner’s version have all the bloat cut out so the emotion (elation or sorrow) can shine above this notion of “heroics.” This is the difference between a 1970s Hollywood vehicle starring Steve McQueen as a badass adonis and a 2017 cinematic landscape able to embrace nuance and compassion despite the testosterone flowing onscreen with a virtually all-male cast. Empathy without a gruff “I would kill you myself” is no longer taboo. It’s a sign of strength.[…]
Hunnam lends a welcome tinge of wry sarcastic humor to the performance—as he’s known to do—that endears him to us so he can be seen as more than a cliché.
The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival began this week and to kick things off Charlie’s newest film Papillon, a remake of the 1973 original film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, made it’s official premiere. The remake stars Charlie along with Mr. Robot star Rami Malek with Charlie playing the original role of McQueen as Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere and Malek in the original role of Hoffman as Louis Dega.
Charlie was wearing a Prada suit as he posed with fans and Papillon producer David Koplan, director Michael Noer, actors Yorick Van Wageningen, Roland Moller, and producer Joey McFarland during the official premiere on September 7th.
You can check out photos in the gallery now.
Update: Added IMDB Lounge event from September 8th to the gallery.
It seems Charlie Hunnam is angling to join Christian Bale and (the newly retired?) Daniel Day Lewis in the ranks of handsome British leading men who are known for suffering through absurdly unpleasant conditions for their craft. Shortly after the horror that was filming Lost City of Z (in which a beetle burrowed into his ear in the Amazon) the actor started shooting Papillon, which tells the true story of Henri Charrière, who suffered in and repeatedly escaped from a French Guiana prison dubbed “Devil’s Island” in the 1930s. Sounds pleasant.
While the prison break story has already been brought to the big screen in 1973 starring Steve McQueen as Charrière and Dustin Hoffman as a fellow convict who aids in his escape, this rendition (which costars Rami Malek in Hoffman’s role) presents a more brutally honest depiction of the horrid conditions these inmates faced. Never one to phone it in via green screen, Hunnam went to extremes for the role.
As Hunnam explained to W today, while promoting Papillon at the Toronto International Film Festival:
“The last sequence in the film is a 20-minute sequence in solitary [confinement] and by the point I was shooting that at the end of the film, my mind and body and f—ing will to live had all really shut down. I just stayed in that cell for eight days and I never ate and I didn’t drink any water… I just chain-smoked cigarettes for eight days. By the time I got out of there, I really felt like I’d lost connection to reality a little bit. I couldn’t go home to see my girlfriend, I had to go to England for a week to get my shit together. I thought, if I show up now after not seeing my girlfriend for four months, she’s going to be like, ‘Dude.’”
To make matters worse, the actor’s recent roles have him on a yo-yo diet from hell. “It’s been really unpleasant, these last two films,” he said. “I’m naturally 180 and I got down to 145 for both films. I lost the weight easy for Lost City of Z, but then I had to do it for Papillon, like, eight months later and my body went into total f—ing crisis.”
Unsurprisingly, Hunnam, while sipping a green juice, swore he’s not going to “do that again to myself for a while.” Although, his next film Triple Frontier, directed by J.C. Chandor for Netflix, is described as “a thriller set in the notorious border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where the Iguazu and Parana rivers converge.” Hmm.
Meanwhile, if you need to get out of prison, Hunnam is your man. Just don’t expect him to stage an elaborate breakout. “I had to get my pal out of jail this week, so I am actually pretty nifty when people get arrested,” he said. “I’ve bailed many of my friends out of prison.”
Remaking a classic like “Papillon” certainly doesn’t sound like the wisest idea on paper. The iconic 1973 film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman is all-timer, which makes you wonder at the hubris of trying to create lightning in a bottle twice. But we’ll find out at the Toronto International Film Festival is this redo is folly or not.
Charlie Hunnam and “Mr. Robot” star Rami Malek take the lead roles in this version, which has a script from “Prisoners” writer Aaron Guzikowski, and Danish director Michael Noer (“R“) behind the camera. Apparently, this will be a contemporary take on the based-on-a-true-story thriller about a man unjustly convicted of murder who enlists the help of a counterfeiter to break him out of a South American jail. Hunnam will be taking the McQueen role, with Malek in Hoffman’s shoes.
TIFF runs from September 7-17.