It is interesting to compare this classic to the recent remake. The McQueen - Hoffman film is an exploration of courage and cowardice. The two men possessed very different kinds of courage, chose different solutions to survival. Each had to discover new levels of bravery to face their life as prisoners. It is also a study of trust repeatedly betrayed as various prisoners make desperate attempts to survive. Most of all, it is about the unlikely bond the two men formed. When they embrace as they say goodbye it is incredibly moving. The new movie is about violence and abuse. The focus is much more on the horrors of the penal colony and on shocking the viewer with different kinds of torture, violence and humiliation. The acting is far inferior. The close-ups of mutilated body parts are much more frequent. The French guards and prison officials are much more often on screen. The friendship between Papillon and Degas seems unremarkable and lacks the depth McQueen and Hoffman conveyed so skillfully.

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