Film Review – Escape From Pretoria

SNACK at The Glasgow Film Festival 2020

Escape from Pretoria

As true stories that feel inherently suited to be told on the big-screen go, the tale of Apartheid prisoners Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee would be hard to beat. Their imprisonment in, and planned escape from, the maximum-security Pretoria prison after being branded terrorists for their pro-African National Congress activities is brought to life in compelling and ultimately thrilling fashion by director Francis Annan.

Though the shadows of countless other prison movies, from The Shawshank Redemption to Birdman of Alcatraz, hang over it throughout, but it does enough to make its own mark by how it shows the characters’ admirable adherence to their beliefs and fierce determination to escape their unjust incarceration. Daniel Radcliffe continues to distance himself from Harry Potter, sporting a respectable and lived-in South African accent as Tim Jenkin, with a captivating performance of steely conviction and believably nervous disposition. Daniel Webber is also excellent as his impassioned cohort. Annan paces the drama very well, building suspense steadily until the tense finale sends you away both exhilarated and reflecting on the gravity of these men’s brave actions for a nation.

Escape from Pretoria is out on March 6th.


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