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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Escape from Pretoria 2020 * * * Stars

Escape from PretoriaDirector: Francis Annan
Year: 2020
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Daniel Webber, Mark Leonard Winter

"You get twenty-four years if you're lucky, a bullet in your head if you're not". Wow. Failing to break out of a bullish correctional facility with rooftop snipers is no joke man.

Anyway, it was the "dog days" of summer in 1989. The film was Sly Stallone's Lock Up and it propelled me into the prison movie drama. Cut to thirty-one years later and I'm introduced to Escape from Pretoria (my latest review). "Pretoria" is a prison thriller that's the thinking's man prison thriller. Devoid of hardly any prisoner, warden, or prison guard brutality, Escape from Pretoria gets your heart pumping regardless. TV movie feel, bumbling security, feeble character development, and quick-knitted conclusion begot, it still gets my recommendation.

Escape From Pretoria' Film Review: Daniel Radcliffe Prison Break DramaClocking in at just over 100 minutes and directed by Brit Francis Annan, "Pretoria" chronicles the prison break of two captives from a South African jail circa 1979. They were African National Congress supporters and they received sentences anywhere between 8 to 12 years. Daniel Radcliffe (as Tim Jenkin) and Daniel Webber (as Stephen Lee) play said captives and they give seething, disciplined performances. After being held for over four hundred days, their personas attempt to escape using wooden keys to unlock numerous, clanking doors (thankfully there were no closed-circuit television cameras back in '79).

Daniel Radcliffe Calls Escape From Pretoria A 'Brilliant' True ...Reflecting on Escape from Pretoria, I was reminded of a less than compelling Shawshank Redemption, a placid version of Papillon, and/or a less foreboding model of Midnight Express. In verity, "Pretoria" is clean, true account film making that builds inching tension despite relegating hardly any real fear. Oh well. You know the outcome of the characters and go along with the flick's benign, PG-13 rating anyway. Thanks to some solid period detail and some masquerading Australian locales, there's movie "escapism" in these dark walls. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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