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The real-life jailbreak of apartheid-era political prisoners Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber) is the inspiration for this taut thriller. The two men (a third escapee, played by Mark Leonard Winter, is a fictionalised version of a real character) are incarcerated for distributing ANC material by leaflet bombs. Their status as civil rights activists makes them targets for particularly malicious brutality from the guards; their lengthy sentences seem untenable.
So through an ingenious system of fake keys and levers, the men engineer a breakout. An overwrought, chest-thumping score is surplus to requirements in a film that already feels as though everything, from the characters to the walls of the cells, is sodden with panic sweats. A pacy screenplay, co-written by director Francis Annan and adapted from a book by Jenkin, rarely flags, but it’s the nervy camera, hugging the characters at hip height, the better to scrutinise each locked barrier to freedom, that most successfully builds the tension.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Escape from Pretoria review – ingenious apartheid-era thriller | Thrillers (film)