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Le Trou (Criterion Collection) (1960)

Cast: Michel Constantin, Jean Keraudy, Philippe Leroy-Beaulieu, more...
Director: Jacques Becker
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Prison, France, Crime, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 131 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
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Marc Michel plays an imprisoned man awaiting trial for the attempted murder of his wife. He is transferred to another cell, where his fellow prisoners are planning a jailbreak. He decides to go along with the elaborate plan, and the cellmates attempt to tunnel their way to freedom. Le Trou represents the last film of director Jacques Becker, who died shortly after its completion. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Sweat-dripping clock-ticking suspense by wes2666 September 28, 2004 - 10:52 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Like Jules Dassin's Rififi, Le Trou is a French-noir film obsessed with process. The stand-out sequence in Rififi is a thirty minute heist that is completely silent except for the scraping, bumps, and controlled breathing of a group of professional burglars. In Le Trou we witness the planning and implementation of a prison escape. The viewer is imprinted with the layout of the prison and is made to understand how difficult it is to acquire, or build, the items necessary for the breakout. The director makes us conspirators; and it becomes as fascinating to watch--between passes of the guard--a man slowly and painfully chip through a concrete floor as if we had to do it ourselves.

Another interesting aspect of the film is the prison culture it recreates. With the chummy cellmates, gourmet food, and beautiful, pining French mistresses, it is hard to see why anyone would want to escape. Oz it certainly ain't.

Slight spoiler ahead:

Maybe the true "Hole" of the title isn't the prison but the central protagonist's lack of inner resources and his inability to trust. These qualities land him not only back in prison, but outside of society, and beyond any forgiveness.

Great excape by eifert June 15, 2004 - 2:04 PM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This is a great French film. If you're looking for a combo film noir / prison escape movie, this is for you. Very suspensful and entertaining.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.04)
83 Votes
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