Papillion: an emotionally charged movie of perseverance

A few nights ago Blaine and I decided to watch Papillon. Charlie Hunnam, who is arguably my favourite actor in existence, and Rami Malek, whom I’m also a big fan of, are the two main characters, so it makes sense why my interest was piqued in this film when I initially saw the cast.

As it turns out, this film offers a hell of a lot more than a stacked cast.

Papillon depicts the true story of Henri Charriere, played by Hunnam, a lock-picker who is framed for a murder he did not commit and his time spent attempting to escape from the well-known penal colony on Devil’s Island. Henri goes by the name of Papi in the film and quickly develops a friendship with Louis Dega, played by Ramek, a counterfeiter whom he must protect if he wishes to escape.

I had heard of the book Papillon as it is referenced in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile by Zac Efron in his portrayal of Ted Bundy. I had no idea this book was based on a true story, and the story of Henri and the adversities he overcame while imprisoned are absolutely astounding.

This movie isn’t gory necessarily, but it does contain footage that is disturbing and difficult to watch. In particular, it shows Papi as he serves two separate lengthy terms in solitary confinement and the drastic means in which his health disintegrates, which is a strong example of Hunnam’s commitment to the role he plays.

I feel as though this movie needs to be watched simply to familiarize ourselves with and pay respect to the remarkable true story of Henri. What this man accomplished is difficult to fathom accurately, and both Hunnam and Malek offer phenomenal performances that help to bring this incredible man’s actual life story to our television screens.

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